Film review: 22 Jump Street (15)

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WITH a knowing wink and a profusion of expletives, 22 Jump Street abides by the conventions of a sequel and condemns its dim-witted yet loveable protagonists to relive the plot of the original on a vastly inflated budget. That’s no bad thing.

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22 Jump Street. PA Photo/Studio Canal

22 Jump Street. PA Photo/Studio Canal

Tongue-in-cheek playfulness abounds in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s uproarious action-packed comedy, which adheres unabashedly to a winning formula of in-jokes and sight gags.

Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) tells officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) they must return to undercover duties. Wonderful on-screen chemistry between the leads powers the picture through the occasional lull and the scriptwriters have a ball increasing the homoerotic undercurrents of the central bro-mance.

22 Jump Street opens with Schmidt and Jenko investigating criminal mastermind The Ghost (Peter Stormare). After a sting to capture The Ghost goes bad, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) recruits the pair for another hare-brained undercover operation - they must pose as college students and unmask the suppliers of a drug called W.H.Y.P.H.Y. (Work Hard? Yes! Play Hard? Yes!).

The narcotic has claimed the life of one girl and Dickson wants to prevent it spreading across the country.

So Schmidt and Jenko adopt their unlikely cover identities and infiltrate different student cliques.

22 Jump Street is as preposterous and laugh-out-loud funny as its predecessor, engineering new perils for the dunderhead double-act as they solve the case with toe-curling awkwardness.

Plot twists aren’t entirely unexpected but predictability doesn’t spoil our enjoyment. Of course, there is a smattering of raunchy gags involving sex toys and male appendages but the script’s sweetness always trumps crudity. Hilarious cameos are peppered throughout, even in an extended end credits sequence that suggests Schmidt and Jenko might have a couple more undercover cases in them yet.