"22 Jump Street is so much more than a big summer comedy movie, frankly it’s a game changer from directors Lord and Miller"

There's a shifting of the sands taking place in the comedy movie landscape, and two names are at the centre of it all; Lord and Miller. Phil Lord and Chris miller that is, two young writer-directors who have single (or double) handedly injected a much needed sense of fun, zaniness and above all humour into the fledgling, nose diving Hollywood market of comedy films.

For years the name Judd Apatow was synonymous with comedy; Superbad, Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virigin were all films that came at just the right time and quickly became the standard. Now the stoner/bromance shtick feels somewhat old hat and predictable. Alongside this you have a string of unimaginative comedies being churned out, where character and narrative are easily supplanted by mediocre gags and tame set ups. Adam Sandler being chief among those responsible for the dumbing down of comedy movies, only recently he was quoted as saying his films are essentially ‘paid vacations’. 

Step in Lord and Miller, who since 2009's excellent animation Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs followed by the immensely popular 21 Jump Street, have managed to breathe life back into an ailing genre. Having scored massive success with The Lego Movie, and with the imminent release of 22 Jump Street, could we be seeing a new era in comedy films… high concept and big in budget but without having to compromise a sense of personality.

Following on almost immediately where 21 Jump Street left off, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are assigned to the rebooted Jump Street programme. Where previously they went undercover as high school students, now they must face a whole new challenge... College (University to us Brits) You know the drill, infiltrate the dealers and find the supply. While Jenko blends seamlessly into the jocular, beer chugging, football playing culture of College, Schmidt finds it a little harder to fit in. It’s not long before the pair end up going solo, and while Schmidt is dedicated to busting the case, Jenko finds his calling playing football for the College team and hanging out with his new friends.

If it all sounds a little too familiar and contrived, have faith because although the plot might be as old as time, Lord and Miller have laced the film with a huge number of absurdly meta moments and self referential jibes than turns 22 Jump into something reminiscent of films such as Naked Gun, Airplane and to some extent Sandlers earlier and best work, Happy Gilmore. We’re beyond the stoner shtick of Rogen and cohorts, 22 Jump Street feels incredibly fresh and original. The opening scene alone is one of pure genius as Nick Offerman wryly dissects the shortcomings of sequels “Ladies nobody gave a shit about the Jump Street reboot, but you got lucky. So now this department has invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going.

From here on out the jokes come thick and fast, tearing the tropes of buddy cop movies apart piece by piece. Some jokes are so small you may not even catch them, a favourite being Schmidt upon seeing their new hi-tech HQ, “Look at the captains office, it looks like a giant cube of ice” enter frame Ice Cube as the snarling Captain Dickinson. 22 Jump Street is brilliantly layered, with hidden gems peppered throughout.

Part of the problem with comedies is they lack any sense of visual flair, too often filmmakers choose to take the lazy route and what we end up with are a string of ‘funny’ conversations or slapstick moments shot in static camera set ups, the narratives are regimented and precise. But film is a visual medium, more so with comedy. Lord and Miller understand this and 22 Jump Street benefits by not only being funny, its visually funny and there are a number of stand out sequences that play around with these ideas.

Of course the jokes simply wouldn’t work without the right actors to deliver them and Jonah Hill although branching into drama of late, remains one of the finest comic actors of his generation (better than Rogen in my opinion) and Tatum pulls off the slow witted deadpan comic timing like a pro. The chemistry between them on screen is evident, and you can see they’re having so much fun with the roles.

22 Jump Street is so much more than a big summer comedy movie, frankly it’s a game changer from directors Lord and Miller who may just be the Zucker brothers for the 21st century and without wanting to ruin the end credits, and trust us you’ll want to stay for those, it does a great job at poking fun at the prospect of further films to come.