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‘22 Jump Street’: Jonah Hill-Channing Tatum chemistry makes it work

Older but not necessarily wiser Schmidt (Jonah Hill left) Jenko (Channing Tatum) go undercover aga“22 Jump Street” this time university

Older but not necessarily wiser, Schmidt (Jonah Hill, left) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) go undercover again in “22 Jump Street,” this time at a university threatened by an illegal drug ring. | Sony Pictures

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‘22 JUMP STREET’ ★★★

Schmidt Jonah Hill

Jenko Channing Tatum

The Ghost Peter Stormare

Capt. Dickson Ice Cube

Columbia Pictures and MGM present a film directed by Chris Lord and Phil Miller and written by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, based on the TV series “21 Jump Street” created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated R (for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence). Now showing at local theaters.

Updated: July 14, 2014 6:12AM

In watching “22 Jump Street,” the cleverly constructed sequel to directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s “21 Jump Street,” it struck me that without lead actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, there would not not much here.

Though I enjoyed enormously this latest offering in the rebooted “Jump” franchise, it’s the effortless, unexpected bromance/partnership between the two unlikely undercover cops is what makes this franchise work. There are certainly a lot of actors who can match Hill and Tatum as comic actors, but it’s the oddball connection between these two that makes for a very entertaining couple of hours at the movies.

It’s something beyond that old saw “Opposites attract.” I think it’s the way Hill and Tatum read each other’s thoughts before they speak that gives their on-screen chemistry the kind of magic that makes it all look so effortless.

Once again, Hill and Tatum are very inadequately disguised undercover officers, moving on to college after their wacky high school antics in “21.”

After badly botching the bust of a vicious gangster — kicking things off with a spectacular, stunt-packed semi-trailer truck chase — Hill’s Schmidt and Tatum’s Jenko are busted back to Jump Street, again forced to work for hardass Capt. Dickson, played with perfect angry sarcasm by Ice Cube. He dispatches Schmidt and Jenko to Metro Community University to solve an overdose case and break up a growing drug ring threat.

Along the way, Schmidt and Jenko’s partnership and friendship are threatened when the athletic Jenko gets recruited by the football team and joins the school’s hottest fraternity. Schmidt falls for beautiful art major Maya (Amber Stevens) — with hilarious side effects involving her father. Plus we are treated to laugh-out-loud performances by Patton Oswalt as an over-the-top professor and Jillian Bell as Maya’s nutty roommate — who delivers her lines with spot-on deadpan precision.

The stunts here are wonderful and the pacing is mostly good, though there are times when the action drags, making you wonder if things got a bit confused in the editing process. Overall, this is good, solid, silly entertainment.

One final note: Be sure and stay for the end credits. They are about as funny as the entire movie.


Twitter: @billzwecker

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