The stars are again in pitch-per­fect form in this en­ter­tain­ing, wink-wink bit of sum­mer­time bumf, writes Tara Brady

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM -

“Last time on 21 Jump Street . . . ” booms the voiceover be­fore the mon­tage. Pre­pare for some lessons in the gram­mar of 1980s TV.

Many heads were scratched when 21 Jump Street hit the mul­ti­plexes in 2012. Why would any­one want to make a movie based on an old com­mon-gar­den cop show, re­mem­bered only, if at all, as the ve­hi­cle that launched Johnny Depp? Was the en­tire barmy idea con­ceived around a Depp cameo?

Then, cu­ri­ouser and cu­ri­ouser: the newer, hip­per, in­ge­niously self-dep­re­cat­ing 21 Jump Street turned out to be pretty, damned funny. Might this sim­i­larly un­likely se­quel re­peat the trick? Ap­par­ently so.

Know­ing se­queli­tis has been im­prov­ing un­ex­pected in­stal­ments since Shake­speare’s Henry IV, Part 2, and in keep­ing with this long tra­di­tion, 22 Jump Street makes merry with the meta-jokes. As mis­matched of­fi­cers Sch­midt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Chan­ning Ta­tum) re­turn to the un­der­cover beat, their peren­ni­ally miffed cap­tain (Ice Cube) out­lines their du­ties: the pair will do ex­actly what they did last time, but with a big­ger budget. “I got a big ass raise to babysit you two fuck­ers again,” ob­serves Mr Cube, sagely.

And so 22 Jump Street re­sets to zero in in­verted com­mas. Ex­cept that this time, they’ll be go­ing un­der­cover on a col­lege cam­pus, not a high school. “I’m the first mem­ber of my fam­ily to pre­tend to go to col­lege,” says Jenko, tear­fully. And so on.

There fol­lows some shenani­gans with a drug oper­a­tion, keg par­ties and a de­tour to Puerto Rico for spring break. Mostly the film con­cerns it­self with the bro­mance be­tween the neu­rotic Sch­midt and the meat-headed Jenko. That’s as it should be: Hill’s up­tight comic schtick finds a per­fect foil in Ta­tum’s per­fectly pitched slow blinks.

The pair­ing, like the movie, is charm­ing and goofy enough to please even when the script isn’t quite so con­sis­tently amus­ing as its pre­de­ces­sor. But that’s still pretty damned funny.

Re­mem­ber to stay seated for the elab­o­rate, star-stud­ded end cred­its se­quence.

Di­rected by Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller. Star­ring Jonah Hill, Chan­ning Ta­tum, Ice Cube, Peter Stor­mare, Am­ber Stevens, Nick Of­fer­man

15A cert, gen­eral re­lease, 112 min

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