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Byron Shire
April 14, 2021

22 Jump Street

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The running gag throughout this less-than-stimulating regurgitation of the same-old-same-old, dumb-arse buddy flick is that its plot is a repeat of 21 Jump Street.

Such jokey self-referencing, because it is now so commonplace, can’t help but give the impression that the filmmakers are taking you, the punter, for a mug – ‘We’ve done this before and we’re doing the exact same thing again, so you can like it or lump it’.

Which is fair enough if you want a cheap laugh at some stale setups, but industry smugness on this scale sticks in the craw.

Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are back as the bumbling police officers who, despite their gaucherie and penchant for getting it wrong, will solve the problem of who is dealing drugs in the college at which they enrolled as undercover cops.

Predictably, ribaldry reigns, but there was a point at which it seemed to me that even the most staunch devotees of the low-brow had reached a tipping point.

It came as the boys were searching a room for evidence. They pulled from a drawer a large pink dildo. The mention or sight of a dick is normally enough to send the genre’s aficionados into paroxysms of laughter, but on this occasion (at the session I attended, at least) there was barely a titter. Had the Mob reached smut fatigue, I wondered? Or is that an oxymoron?

Hill and Tatum, who milk their shtick to the max, are likeable actors and they work well together, although it is unlikely that they will be recorded in the annals alongside Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello et al – for a start, there is nothing original in what they do.

They are mere clones of the wise-guy boofhead that has become the template for box-office comedy.

The explosive finale, involving a tasteless summary execution, should be out of place (honestly, is it funny to see a person incinerated?), but nobody goes to a movie like this expecting anything more than tack.

~ John Campbell

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