22 Jump Street (D). Mercy sakes alive, I saw this movie a week ago and I’m just now getting around to reviewing it? This won’t be easy, because 22 Jump Street was not really designed to be a memorable movie-going experience. If I had to guess, I’d say it was really designed to hoover up lots of dollars out of the wallets of average joes like me who enjoyed 21 Jump Street decently well. Anyway, IMDb.com is helping me remember that in this sequel, goofball cop partners Schmidt (Jonah Hill, This Is the End) and Jenko (Channing Tatum, Side Effects) go undercover, posing as college students in order to find and bust the supplier of a new and dangerous drug. They embrace their secret identities a little too thoroughly, causing a rift between them that they really need to heal before the climactic bust. It’s pretty much same as the first movie, only not very funny. Most of the laughs come from a palpably miserable college student named Mercedes (Jillian Bell, The Master), who does a couple of funny extended riffs (a la Melissa McCarthy) on how Schmidt looks way too old to be a college student. And Ice Cube (Three Kings) was pretty funny as the perpetually-angry police captain. He probably had to have that scowl surgically removed after this shoot was over.
The Movie Snob finally makes it back to the movies.
The Lego Movie (B-). This movie is getting high marks from the critics, but I just can’t go better than “pretty good.” It’s an animated film about a world made of Legos—a world of bland conformity ruled by the Big Brother-like President Business (voice of Will Ferrell, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). But there is a prophecy that an ordinary Lego person will rise up and break Business’s stranglehold on Legoland, and it looks like The Chosen One may be an ordinary construction worker named Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt, her). His potential chosenness is discovered by a nonconformist chick named Wyldstyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks, Definitely, Maybe), who recruits him to join some sort of rebellion against Business and his main henchman, Bad Cop (voice of Liam Neeson, The Phantom Menace). The movie has plenty of pluses. The animation can be very striking, some of the humor is pretty good, and it is fun to pick out all the famous vocal talent at work, including Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption), Will Arnett (TV’s Arrested Development), Jonah Hill (This Is the End), Alison Brie (TV’s Community), and many more. On the down side, as in many regular action movies, many of the action scenes moved so fast in places that I just gave up trying to figure out what was going on. It started to feel a little long after a while, and I didn’t think the climactic ending was all that great. Still, I give the film makers credit for trying something reasonably fresh and original. Oh, and the theme song “Everything Is Awesome” really is kind of awesome.