Three years ago, no one knew about Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and no one knew that Channing Tatum would make a brilliant comedic actor. Then 21 Jump Street came out, and everyone became enlightened. Lord & Miller have gone on to make 2014’s zany, clever Lego Movie (recently, rudely snubbed in the Oscar nominations), so I couldn’t help but think of how bonkers that movie became when 22 Jump Street settled into a buddy-cop groove rather than the wacky action comedy of the first one. Lord & Miller (and, satisfyingly, Tatum and Jonah Hill) are better when the comedy dives into the bizarre and surreal; see: the awesome trip from the first movie. 22 Jump Street instead doubles down on meta jokes about being a for-cash-only sequel. The movie still gets a lot of laughs, but they’re not as fun this time around.
Quicker take: Of all the two Phil Lord and Chris Miller movies released this year, 22 Jump Street is the second best.