It's a weekend of sequels on At the Movies, and while Peter Travers highly recommends checking out the spectacular animated How to Train Your Dragon 2, he knows you're more likely to check out the latest big summer blockbuster comedy: 22 Jump Street.
Sure, the film's context wreaks of Hollywood's ridiculous attempts to rake in big bucks: The follow-up to the 2012 big-screen reboot of the Eighties television hit 21 Jump Street, which paired Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover cops who infiltrate a high school. But as Travers says, "22 Jump Street is almost meta in the way it laughs at the whole idea of sequels, and how we as an audience never tire of seeing the same damn movie over and over and over again."
This time around, perpetually undercover cops Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) find themselves in a new office located across the street from the old headquarters —at 22 Jump Street, get it? — and are given an assignment that requires posing as college students, even though they're in their mid-30s. The movie follows every rule in the sequel handbook: The explosions are more ridiculous, the parties are wilder and the laughs are absolutely bigger.
"And you know what?" Travers says. "It works. Because you're laughing with them. You're saying, 'Hollywood is a total cash grab.'"
And when you see it, Travers says you've got to stay until after the end credits for a short sequence where they imagine every possible follow-up — from 23 Jump Street to 123 Jump Street. "It's just so funny and so consistent in the way it tells you that 'This is the way Hollywood works' that I did laugh my ass off. And I'm proud to say it."