I'm somebody who suffers from jealousy. When it comes to celebrities I don't let it eat at me too much since it's such an unobtainable profession. There is something about directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller though that makes me insanely jealous and it successfully eats at me. It's not just that they're talented and really funny, it's that they also have managed to pull off making A-quality raunchy R-rated films and smart children's movies as well. Besides this and 21 Jump Street, they also blew me away with the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films and The Lego Movie (which still might be my favorite of 2014). With jealousy comes satisfaction when someone stumbles so maybe I'm enjoying the misfires of 22 Jump Street more than I should.
When 21 Jump Street came out two years ago I don't think anyone was prepared for how funny it was. It made me realize two things; one, don't write off a movie because its source material is stupid and two, Channing Tatum is really funny. By 2012 I had hit bottom with my Jonah Hill addiction. Like everyone else, I dabbled with him when I was younger, became hooked with Superbad but was fully ODed by the time Get Him to the Greek came out. Despite winning me back with performances in great films like Wolf of Wall Street, Moneyball and Django Unchained, I still can't enjoy him like I used to. Tatum, on the other hand, has taken the opposite course and I'm all aboard the Channing Train.
One quality the original 21 Jump Street film had was its ability to laugh at its own premise and lampoon it. That shows up here in that it mocks sequels in general and how they're just more of the same but with a bigger budget. It's a very funny, very effective gag in the first act but 80 minutes later they're still making the same jokes and it's tired and exhausting. It's also not very original, which isn't a crime, but Muppets Most Wanted just took the same approach and did it better.
There are plenty of stellar comedic moments in 22 Jump Street and most people around me never seemed to grow tired of the film. I, on the other hand, loved the first half and hated the second. I can't remember a recent film that burned out so quickly and so hard. Graduating the premise to college instead of high school is funny at first but then it's filled with every cliche you can imagine and padded with subplots and character relationships that are ridiculous and seem to serve no purpose.
Directors Lord and Miller are two guys, not much older than me, that understand comedy on both an adult and childish level. In their short but growing resume they have nothing but success. A spiteful, petty person like me usually loves it when someone that successful fires off a dud. 22 Jump Street isn't a dud by a long shot. Is it a stumble compared to everything else they've done? Absolutely. It's an enjoyable piece of comedy but completely forgettable. It's not something you'd want to own. It's not something you'd recommend. It's not something you look forward to seeing again. And that is a considered a misfire for these two talented directors.