22 Jump Street (2014)
We're all probably familiar with the way that a concept that starts out novel and fresh can be milked into oblivion, like the Paranormal Activity series and any other action/horror/comedy movie that becomes a surprise hit.
22 Jump Street is extremely conscious of the fact that it is a sequel movie stretching the premise of the first one, and so it makes fun of itself throughout the entire movie. Do Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill look like they could pass as college students? Heck no, and here, no one at the college buys their disguise for a moment except for maybe Maya. The movie makes fun of itself and its older-looking actors, and this self-referential attitude makes the sequel status somewhat more acceptable due to the extra layer of "funny" even though I know it's still a sequel. If that makes sense.
Along with over-the-top, cheesy explosions come the hilarious and extremely current ("Turn down the what!") music, references and slang. What can I say about this movie? It's so 2014, and will date easily. You will really get this movie if you were around and up-to-date on pop culture in '14.
Tatum and Hill have this amazing chemistry. They click well, and their scenes together evoke this sense of closeness and chumminess that best buds have. The role of Jenko is well suited for Tatum, much more believable than the sappier romance roles that he has starred in.
What elevates this movie from just one-liner laughter and feels is that Schmidt and Jenko's friendship takes a poignant direction that a lot of people can relate to. Close friends grow apart. Schmidt and Jenko aren't sure if they can continue doing what they've always done--Jenko is exploring more options for what he can do, and also whether his relationship with Schmidt is holding him back. Schmidt is terrified of losing his pal, who seems to be growing in a completely different direction. They've always had their differences but in college, Jenko's exploration of his other interests makes the differences more pronounced.
***SPOILERS BELOW THIS POINT***
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SPOILER: The only thing that bugged me a little was Captain Dickson's hypocrisy. A fellow guy getting laid with a girl is something to brag about...until you realize that girl is actually your kid.
SPOILER: The two cops are soulmates in the way that they connect and also push each other out of their comfort zones. I thought that Jenko and his athletic bud Zook were soulmates at first because they mirrored each other perfectly, but it turns out that because they are so similar, Jenko actually gets bored of doing the same thing over and over again, without the dash of awkward antics that Schmidt adds to a situation.