The meta-humor of the film was far and away my favorite part. It managed to be heavy-handed throughout the film while it avoided collapsing the world of the film. Outside of self-referential jokes about plot, budget and profits, the rest of the gags mostly fell flat. There were several moments, like in the first film, that I felt crossed out of the realm of funny and became just plain stupid. The physical humor of Hill and Tatum’s contrasting physiques gets old pretty fast. Their personalities, on the other hand, work well in conflict. The two have an undeniable chemistry on screen that makes the longer bits not only bearable but also enjoyable.
While many of the characters from 21 Jump Street reprise their roles, including Dave Franco and Rob Riggle in a hilarious jail scene, several of the new characters were really great. Particularly Mercedes (Jillian Bell, Workaholics), whose onslaught of jokes about Jonah Hill’s character looking old are hilarious! Also making a cameo appearance is H. Jon Benjamin as the football coach. Even with almost no lines, I think simply his presence makes the film better. Finally, contrary to all the other roles I’ve seen him in prior to this, I still think Ice Cube gives my favorite performance of the entire film!
Grade: B- (aka see it on a rainy summer afternoon)
P.S. Make sure you stay through the ENTIRE credits of the film for a special treat!