Taking your old man to a movie on Father's Day is a good idea, but unless you think he's hip enough to see the humour in a stupidly obvious Ice Cube joke, maybe don't take him to 22 Jump Street, opening Friday at the much-cherished Village 8 Cinemas.
22 Jump Street re-teams Channing Tatum (Haywire, Step Up) and Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street, Strange Wilderness) for essentially the exact same movie as the last Jump Street, but this time the undercover cops take their odd-couple bro show to....wait for it... college!
The story is ridiculously stupid but 22 Jump Street works because the filmmakers play with that stupidity and build some pretty decent uber-post-modern comedy out of winking at just how unnecessary it is to spend millions of dollars making a sequel to a film based on a 20+ -year-old, teeny-bopper television show. It's dumb fun, extremely satirical and pretty out there (like Airplane! out there) but also essentially hollow — the flick is trying to be so present in this single cultural moment that if you don't see it this weekend 22 Jump Street will almost already feel like dated material. Ice Cube kills it though, as do Hill and Tatum (despite a script that contains way too much bickering — the bromance in this one is more like a second marriage to the same person).
But give credit to Jonah Hill — that guy has been making smart choices and his filmography includes a list of critical and commercial hits that's longer than a baby's arm, and includes Oscar nominations, voice work on many animated juggernauts, Adam Sandler flicks, Judd Apatow flicks, and even a solid part in a Tarantino flick (Django Unchained). Channing Tatum is still the reigning ladies' favourite but in the 22 Jump Street bromance, Hill is on top.
*Interesting if lengthy side note: Richard Greico was on the original 21 Jump Street TV show with Johnny Depp, but it was Greico whom everyone thought would be the next big star. He got his own spin-off show called Booker, a corporate private investigator drama that ran for a single season in 1989. They even filmed an episode in Whistler where a cat burglar (wearing ski boots) sneaks around stealing a bunch of jewels from rich slopeside condos, then escapes the cops by clicking into some Rossignols and ripping mellow pow into the trees. That episode sucks because it's Booker, but they at least call Whistler Whistler, rather than trying to pawn us off as Vail or Aspen. It also features the then-brand-new Whistler Village Gondola (which won't be around next year), but tragically ignores ski-film culture and skips the mandatory hot tub scene. Booker episode 16, a.k.a. "Black Diamond Run," is the Download of the Week, if only to watch Greico's stunt double ski "Elevator Shaft." Keep an eye out for the old Whistler Roundhouse and also a very spunky Lori Petty (Point Break, Tank Girl). *
The other sequel dropping this Father's Day weekend is How to Train Your Dragon 2. Canadian triple-threat Jay Baruchel returns as the voice of Hiccup, the reluctant hero who brought his Viking tribe and their dragon foes together. Now that everyone lives in peace a new threat, both dragon and human, rises. The first flick in this series still holds up four years later, but the sequel looks like it could be marred by not one but two unnecessary romantic subplots, however, so don't go with too high of hopes (two bags of M&Ms is a whole 'nother story).
Happy Father's Day.
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