Comedy sequels are notorious for essentially being their first movie for a second time and not bringing anything new to the table. Since this criticism has become a consensus, comedy-sequel writers have tried and failed to avoid this problem. It kind of just is what it is. Nothing is as good the second time around.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum made for an unlikely duo in 2012’s “21 Jump Street,” a remake of the 1987 television series. This odd couple had great chemistry, and made for a good, if unoriginal buddy cop movie.
Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are cops who did a great undercover operation a few years ago, where they went undercover as high school students to stop a new and lethal drug from getting into the wrong hands. Now, they are going undercover at a local college to basically do the same operation all over again.
What makes this different from other basically-the-same-movie comedy sequels is its meta self-awareness. We know that it’s the same story as the original, and it knows that it is. What pushes this into uncharted territory is that it knows that we know it. The script is stuffed with self-aware jokes that went over the heads of alot of people in my screening - it was like I was the only one who got these jokes.
Channing Tatum, who is a complete failure as a dramatic actor, can be very good in a comedy if the script is there. He and Jonah Hill play off one another very well, and this film becomes the odd comedy sequel that demands to be watched along with its predecessor - it’s not a step down from the original, and it’s just as much fun as the first.