"Do the same thing as last time and everyone is happy," spouts out Nick Offerman's character Deputy Chief Hardy, and that's exactly what directorial duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller chose to do. 21 Jump Street
was one of the surprise hits of 2012, equal parts a homage and a parody of the 1980s TV show, it was a clever fun filled romp.22 Jump Street
looks to build on the on screen 'bromance' between Jonah Hill's Schmidt and Channing Tatum's Jenko. The setting is simple: socially awkward Schmidt and well trained-but-slow witted Jenko are cops who have to go undercover as college students to bust a drug ring that deals in WhyPhy (pronounced Wi-Fi, a totally unnecessary pun).
The plot is exactly the same as 21 Jump Street, and the movie is totally aware of this and calls itself out on it. But it's hard to give the movie a free pass simply because it self-aware that it's more or less a rehash, as the writing feels slightly uninspired and lazy.
The best thing about the movie is the chemistry between its main characters. Hill and Tatum are exceptional throughout the movie and their buddy cop dynamic really shine through. Ice Cube, who plays Schmidt and Jenko's commanding officer, also delivers a strong performance but is criminally given very little screen time. The rest of the cast is mostly made up of interchangeable college goers who offer very little in terms of the plot or performance.
Those who haven't seen the previous film and those who seek the exact same thing as 21 Jump Street will film enjoyable and funny. But those looking for something completely different are out of luck as they will find the recycled plot, boring.
The best praise and/or criticism one can offer for this movie is that it often feels like a playlist of funny viral videos on YouTube being played at random.