Friday, July 25, 2014

22 Jump Street (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Count on “22 Jump Street”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

The producers of “22 Jump Street” obviously have a high opinion of the movie’s potential audience: That they can count over 20. Proof of this theory? The original movie was titled “21 Jump Street” (after the TV show it’s based on), and by making this one “22 Jump Street” they have cleverly signaled that it’s a sequel.

Simple math.

While neither of these two movies feature Johnny Depp (he starred in the TV show), the producers make do with hunky Channing Tatum and funny Jonah Hill. They are supposed to be undercover cops posing as students. In the first outing they pass as a couple of mature-looking high school kids; in the second they’re pretending to be college boys.

“22 Jump Street” is playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Forget the TV show. It was a serious police procedural crime drama. These new versions are what we like to call action comedies -- a combination of bullets and jokes.

Channing Tatum gets to show us he’s funnier than you’d think. And Jonah Hill gets to pretend he’s a fearless he-man. Both are a bit of a stretch.

In the first movie, Jenko and Schmidt (Tatum and Hill) are an underachieving jock and a nerdy bookworm who team up at police academy. Assigned to infiltrate the local high school, they take on an unruly motorcycle gang.

Second time around is even funnier. Jenko and Schmidt move across the street (to 22 Jump Street -- get it?), where their old captain (played by Ice Cube in both movies) assigns them to go undercover again. They’re looking for a drug dealer known as Ghost (Peter Stormare), a baddie who’s peddling a deadly concoction known as WHYPHY to college kids.

Spoiler alert: They get him.

At the end of the movie, the two doofuses are being asked to infiltrate a med school. But stay on for the credits: it gets better. They are shown infiltrating a culinary school, a dance academy, a flight school, a seminary, and a space camp (“2121 Jump Street,” it’s called). We’re told these are movie spinoffs. We even get an animated series, video games, and toys.

But that’s all pretend.

While the “21 Jump Street” TV show ran for 103 episodes, this movie franchise might be good for one more sequel.

“23 Jump Street” anyone?

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