22 Jump Street Online movie is a monument of mocking, a master class in dissing, a parody of pastiche that pokes its R-rated finger at social conventions, sequels, stereotypes, football, frats, friends, drugs, sex and even its stars. This sequel has spoof of its predecessor’s riff on the original 1980s same-name buddy-cop TV show coalesces into a raucous, raunchy, irreverent and imperfect riot.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, as officers Jenko and Schmidt, are back for another capricious crime caper in 22 Jump Street Online. Their chemistry crackles around strains in their bro-mance and the fallout at the precinct from bungling any case they get.
After a pretty hilarious opening involving our leads trying to pass as Latino gangsters and a chase sequence that puts the movie’s action style somewhere between Mission: Impossible and The Three Stooges. Schmidt and Jenko are soon shipped off to college. This time, their assignment is to do exactly the same thing they did: going undercover in school. There’s absolutely no thinking outside the box making 22 Jump Street Online one of several jabs at the proclivities of Hollywood sequels.
Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller understand exactly what they’ve got this time: a solidly implausible story, sight gags galore, endless jokes for the two new freshmen to go sophomoric and all unfolding at breakneck speed. Screenwriters Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman do not pull any punches or bypass any punch lines. The script is not shy about being rude, crude and politically incorrect with its comedy making most of the jokes working well. Still, there’s an edge being softened by the sweet handling of relationships. Despite its general inappropriateness and occasional misfires, 22 Jump Street Online is not lazy in its scheming.
As the movie’s story goes, the success of Jenko and Schmidt in their high school operation brought an infusion of cash into the undercover operation. The secret specialty division moved from the vacated church on 21 Jump Street to another vacated church but bigger and nicer across the street. Dickson is still in charge and his bite is as bad as his bark. However, the digs have gone from low tech to high tech, and the captain’s icy steel and chrome office looking like a punch line waiting to happen.
At college, Jenko and Schmidt masquerade as students and siblings, and neither role is remotely plausible. They share a dorm room as they work the case, go to class, rush a fraternity, meet girls and play football. They’re after the dealer of a particularly toxic hallucinogen that has already killed one student. Their main target is known as the Ghost (Peter Stormare) since no one knows what he looks like. Still, that’s not the main story, the movie’s real through line is how the best buds’ relationship is changing. The complicating factors are endless. There are unexpected issues with Maya (Amber Stevens), the smart girl Schmidt falls for. There are even more issues with Zook (Wyatt Russell), the college quarterback and frat boy who becomes Jenko’s new best friend. He’s a suspect, but their tight connection on the football field and off soon threatens the case and more. Meanwhile, Mercedes (Jillian Bell), Maya’s caustic new roommate, turns up at the most inopportune times to deliver her verbal assaults. Bell is a scene-stealing crazy woman you won’t soon forget.
A great deal of insanity ensues, none of which would work if Tatum and Hill weren’t so disarming in their roles. Their level of comfort with the characters and each other helps the movie. That ease is on excellent display in one particular therapeutic scene.