Clown college

“You’re starting to look fat again, homie.“

“You’re starting to look fat again, homie.“

Rated 4.0

I totally lost it during 22 Jump Street. There’s a pivotal scene in this always funny sequel that had me laughing to the point where tears were coming out of my eyes and I couldn’t breathe. As I literally suffered through a DEFCON 1 level laughing fit, I noticed that a lot of folks around me were having the same problem.

I won’t tell you the scene. You’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens. I will tell you that this is a sequel that’s as good as the film that birthed the franchise, which was based on another franchise that starred that Depp guy before he became a Keith Richards clone pirate.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, an unlikely duo if there ever was one, basically repeat the same steps of the very funny 21 Jump Street, and they do it in a way that keeps things fresh while knowingly recycling the same plot. And by knowingly, I mean this film acknowledges what it is, a run-of-the mill sequel, for its entire running time. It’s a self-mocking technique that works well, thanks to its stars and the deft comic direction of returning directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are on a roll, having directed this year’s The Lego Movie, as well.

This one picks up where the first film left off, with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube in serious comic overdrive) assigning Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) to college. In college, they’ll do exactly what they did undercover in the first movie: Infiltrate the dealers, find the supplier.

Once they show up in college and put their stylin’ beanbag chair in their dorm room, Schmidt and Jenko set about making friends and looking for the new drug of choice, WHYPHY. Of course, the duo ingest the drug at some point, which leads to a hilarious trip where Schmidt ends up in some sort of hell where Creed plays on the loudspeakers, while Jenko has a more pleasant time involving rainbow colors and getting tickled.

Schmidt continues to be the only one getting lucky in the Jump Street universe, this time scoring with Maya (Amber Stevens), who, much to his surprise, happens to be related to somebody prominent in his universe. Jenko definitely has a better time in college than his “loser” time in high school, hitting it big with Zook (Wyatt Russell, son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell), the football team’s quarterback. Jenko becomes a star athlete while Schmidt has girl problems and eventually finds himself ostracized.

Some of the films best gags involve any moment when Ice Cube is on the screen, and a bit involving Maya’ roommate Mercedes (Jillian Bell) and her hilariously deadpan observations after having to endure neighboring sex noises all night. Comedy duo the Lucas Brothers play twins Keith and Kenny Yang, Schmidt and Jenko’s odd neighbors across the dormitory hall, who marvel at sharing the same thoughts and are responsible for Schmidt and Jenko’s surprise WHYPHY trip.

As for cameos, Rob Riggle makes a triumphant return as Mr. Walters, who lost a very important piece of his anatomy in the first movie, and Dave Franco as Eric the drug dealer, living a life of pure hell as Mr. Walters’s cell block husband. Stick around for all of the credits for a final joke involving them, as well as a short cameo by Richard Grieco as Booker, a vet of the 21 Jump Street TV show. Nothing beats Johnny Depp’s cameo in the first movie, but Riggle and Franco come close.

Some of the film’s biggest laughs occur during the credits, where Schmidt and Jenko keep getting assigned to new schools—Magic School, Dancing School, etc.—accompanied by cheesy fake movie posters. I’m hoping there are more Jump Street movies, but it seems as if the post credit future premise jokes exhaust all ideas for new installments. Please don’t let this be true. I want more Schmidt and Jenko movies.