June 21, 2014 -- Usually, in a review like this, I would start by comparing this sequel to the original, but I haven't seen the original. I have, however, seen a lot of movies like this one. It reminded me a bit of the old “Pink Panther” films in which you have a pair of incompetent cops comically bumbling their way through an investigation until they stumble upon the solution to the mystery. They solve the crime and close the case despite themselves, just like Inspector Closeau.
In the original film, “21 Jump Street,” based on a successful 1987 TV series, two undercover cops, Schmidt (played by Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) pose as high school students to track down drug dealers. In this film the same two cops pose as college students to find a drug dealer. This film not only makes fun of such action movies as “Bad Boys,” but it even makes fun of sequels. Over the credits, there are a series of funny phoney trailers of upcoming Jump Street movies, including “34 Jump Street.”
In addition to the usual classroom and fraternity humor, dating back to “Animal House,” there is a romance between Schmidt and an art student, Maya (Amber Stevens of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”). This seems a bit out of place in a silly comedy, until it is revealed there is a connection between Maya and someone else in the police department. This revelation sparks more comedic situations.
Another unusual character in the movie is Maya's roommate, Mercedes (Jillian Bell of “Bridesmaids”). In the early part of the film, Mercedes is a minor character who is ignored, even when she makes devastating sarcastic remarks. Later in the film Mercedes blossoms into a major comedic character who is at the center of some of the film's funniest scenes, including a fist fight and a gun fight. There are a number of movie in-jokes in this film, and Jillian Bell delivers one of the best jokes of this kind during a gun fight. Veteran actor Ice Cube reprises his role as Captain Dickson, with a permanent, clichéd scowl.
While this film is dominated by vulgar, slapstick humor, it is not exactly brain dead. There is a certain self-aware, self-mocking quality to it. It also helps that the characters, while not the sharpest tools in the shed, are basically good guys trying to do the right thing. This is a funny, enjoyable film. It rates a B.
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