The plot will be familiar to fans of 2012's "21 Jump Street,"
an R-rated, box office hit that earned $200 million worldwide
and followed the duo's slapstick antics as they returned to high
school for a similar assignment.
In "22 Jump Street," which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday,
they are odd-couple roommates and best buddies trying to
discover who is supplying college students with a powerful new
drug called WHYPHY.
"I think we always thought we had a bit of handcuffs on in the
first movie, being in high school and obviously the underage
thing, and going to college would be a little bit more wild,"
said Tatum, 34, best known for "White House Down" and "Magic
The sequel puts the actors in a role reversal from the first
film, in which Tatum's Jenko had difficulty fitting in and
double Oscar nominee Hill ("The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Moneyball")
as Schmidt was the popular guy.
This time around Tatum's hunky, dim-witted Jenko, blends in with
the frat boys, becomes a football star and finds a kindred
spirit in quarterback Zook, played by Wyatt Russell ("Cowboys &
"I am the first person in my family to pretend to go to
college," says an emotional Jenko.
The nerdy, needy Schmidt is left on the sidelines so he seeks
solace with the artsy crowd and in the arms of student Maya,
played by Amber Stevens ("The Amazing Spider-Man").
Ice Cube is back as the duo's boss, Captain Dickson, and Jillian
Bell, as Maya's dour roommate, never lets Schmidt forget he
looks too old to be in college.
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It is packed with jokes, witty humor and action, but at its heart
the film is about Jenko and Schmidt's relationship. Their divergent
paths force the duo to question whether they should take a break,
"investigate other people" and sow their "cop oats."
The stars and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo
behind the hit "The Lego Movie," were aware of the pitfalls of
making a sequel and tackled the issue in the film.
"We were wrestling so hard with the idea of making a sequel and how
they are always worse, that we were like we should just call that
out. We should just put that out there," said Hill. "And we did and
people really responded to it and it allowed us to focus on making a
The spoof strategy seems to have worked. "22 Jump Street" is
expected to make $55 million in its opening weekend, nearly $20
million more than the original, and it has pleased critics.
The trade journal Variety said the film "sticks snugly to the prior
film’s winning formula, mining the resultant doublings and
repetitions for maximum absurdist hilarity."
(Reporting by Patrica Reaney; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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