22 Jump Street ★★½

Lord and Miller want to be Joe Dante, but there's a fundamental issue that has held back this and The Lego Movie for me: these films need to be able to be taken at face value at the same time they can be seen as satirizing/critiquing their subjects. I don't remember the first film being this sloppy, whether it was the lazy camera images that seem rarely planned with the same visual sophistication (see: the "stoner" in the background of the hotel room fight - there's a missing set up and punchline there), or the dropped plots or scenes (see: the night of talking, which is simply weird and has no payoff). Tatum at least knows how to commit 100% to sincerity in a way Jonah Hill seems to be ready to break character at any moment, which is annoying. And then there's Ice Cube smashing a buffet to bits, which is hilarious. Jillian Bell is pretty funny as well - hope to see her on SNL in the future.

But that's not the problem. What distinguished 21 Jump Street was it provided a new take on the high school comedy in terms of jocks/nerds distribution. There's nothing surprising or unique about 22's view of college, which feels more scrappy and generic than most Varsity Shows. Everything here seems half committed; applying a meta shield on top of that just ends up feeling lazy.

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