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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

22 Jump Street: The Secret to a Successful Sequel

There’s a theory that there’s no such thing as an original thought, because every idea worth having has been had many times before. The film industry, which is supposed to be a mecca for unique projects, generally just churns out the same material because if something worked once, it’s worth doing it again- right?

The sequel is as about as unimaginative as it gets and the wonderful thing about 22 Jump Street is that it knows this. 

Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are sent back undercover to find the supplier of a new popular drug targeted towards teenagers. It’s literally the exact same mission they were assigned two years ago as a part of the 21 Jump Street division. The only difference is that they’ve moved next door to a new office at 22 Jump Street (this time with Vietnamese Jesus in place of Korean Jesus) and instead of returning to high school, they’ll go to college at MC State.

Sequels often fail because they try and recreate the magic of the first film without repeating what made it work in the first place. 22 Jump Street figured out a surefire way to make a sequel work- just do the exact same thing as last time.

Due to the nature of the storyline, a lot of the jokes are expected but that doesn’t make them any less funny.

Some of the best moments come when the characters get super meta and address the fact that the story is absolutely the same.

“No one thought this would work. You got lucky,” Deputy Hardy (Nick Offerman) tells Jenko and Schmidt. “And this time it’s way more expensive for no reason.”

There’s lots of talk about needing to tone down the budget and why offering to join the Secret Service is a bad idea (Tatum apparently learned his lesson after White House Down).

21 Jump Street was such a surprise success because of the unlikely chemistry between Tatum and Hill. These two have a serious bromance going on and 22 Jump Street does a great job of pushing Jenko and Schmidt’s partnership into a full blown relationship filled with jealousy, couples counseling and unconditional love. 

“Maybe we should investigate other people,” Jenko tells Schmidt after they each find their niche at college- frat life and football for Jenko, poetry and wine for Schmidt.

But their different strengths, quirks and interests make them better together and so fun to watch. So fun, in fact, that the credits offer a look at all the possible locations for sequels that may one day be in the works: Med School, Art School, Culinary School, Flight Academy, Vet School, etc.

And don’t worry, like every other unnecessary franchise, Jenko and Schmidt will have their own collectible action figures and lunchboxes.

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