“Post-Entertainment Entertainment”

Jonah Hill;Channing TatumMatt Zoller Seitz on ’22 Jump Street’:

With its paint-by-numbers plotting and open acknowledgment that nothing onscreen makes sense (everyone thinks the cops are too old to pass for college dudes, and Schmidt’s girlfriend’s roommate, a witheringly sarcastic young woman played by Jillian Bell, demands that Schmidt “tell us about the war, any of them”), “22 Jump Street” is the sort of film that the Lego guy might watch alone in his nondescript little Lego apartment while eating Lego snacks from a Lego bowl and smiling desperately. But instead of being bored with itself, the film is lively, at times ecstatically silly. It has some of the greatest split-screen gags I’ve seen—the best of which, an extended drug trip, is “Duck Amuck” sublime—and even when it’s not highlighting its movie-ness, your mind is racing to predict what clichés it’ll skewer/indulge next. The final credits sequence listing all the sequels that the “Jump Street” team will make in the future feels like Lord and Miller’s way of telling wisecracking viewers, “Don’t try to out-funny us, because there’s no joke you can make that we aren’t making already, and besides, none of them were that clever to start with.” The movie is post-entertainment entertainment. The joke’s on everyone.

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