21 JUMP STREET / 22 JUMP STREET
(directed by Phil Lloyd & Chris Miller, 2012/2014)
21 JUMP STREET (2012) ***
> Another recycled Big Studio idea, returning to the motherlode to mine the back catalogue of bad TV, in ceaseless pursuit of the Holy Buck, this one from a show I never saw- featuring a young, hip Johnny Depp, who makes a cameo appearance here. Terrible idea! Unless it works. 21 JUMP STREET (the movie) is a lowbrow, occasionally tasteless mainstream comedy that is crass and silly and unbelievable and predictable… and a whole lot of fun. It works! Personally, I think with humor, (as with music), it really is all a matter of taste. I don’t watch many comedies. They are usually disappointments. With nothing to draw me to this film but Jonah Hill, who I rather enjoy, it was only the relatively high rating this film got (for a comedy) in the very useful guide A Critical Consensus that put this film on my radar. Glad it did. As stupid as it often was, it was real fun to watch.
22 JUMP STREET (2014) ***
> There were several points during this film that I found myself wondering why I was wasting my time with such silliness. I couldn’t help but doubt that there was much pleasure in this blatantly youth-oriented trifle, for a man of my years. Fratboy humor just doesn’t usually strike me as very humorous. But Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum do make an appealing odd couple, and there were sufficient pleasures in the preceding 21 JUMP STREET to give this sequel a whirl. 22 JUMP STREET, it turns out, was nothing more than a rehash of 21, but the filmmakers use this to their advantage, repeatedly commenting, in sly asides, about the striking similarities to the first outing. When it does work, it is because of the chemistry between these two game leading men. Their “partner” relationship is consistently mined for laughs in a way that flirts with the homophobic. Is it really such a revolutionary idea that two men can love one another without being gay lovers? Clearly the “bromance” is still an uncomfortable plot device for many. Without that societal discomfort this light comedy would not have worked at all. And that’s a little disturbing…
. Please don’t bother with a 23 JUMP STREET, boys.
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