The phrase “mic drop” was invented for the last three minutes of HBO’s six-episode documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. For five episodes and most of the sixth, the New York real-estate magnate Durst spent the majority of his screentime reasserting his innocence in the three separate murder allegations that have been dogging him for more than a decade. Then the screen goes black, a title card explains that Bob is headed to the bathroom, and all hell breaks loose.
Viewers watching The Jinx as it unspooled over six weeks last February and March got to see that moment without knowing what would happen. I didn’t have that luxury, as I didn’t start the series when it originally aired and then couldn’t avoid the barrage of spoilers and interview coverage in the days following the finale. Had I not known what was coming, I might have had nightmares about the final sequence. Even with the foreknowledge, the moment took my breath away.
Earlier this year, the directing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller tackled the perils of conformity and the joys of creativity in The Lego Movie, which took America by storm and became the year’s highest-grossing movie so far. Having previously adapted Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and revived 21 Jump Street for the big screen, Lord and Miller were no strangers to Hollywood success, but The Lego Movie elevated their profile to previously unthinkable heights.
22 Jump Street ought to do it again. It’s as funny as the original, with an extra layer of metacommentary on the inevitable fatigue and repetition that plagues most movie sequels. Better yet, the metacommentary exists not as a mere distraction from a dearth of originality, but rather a springboard from which new ideas emerge. The movie is about the hapless Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and the muscular Jenkoff (Channing Tatum) chasing their former glory and confronting the unusual nature of their relationship. As in the first movie, there are car chases, preposterous plot twists, romantic entanglements, professional jealousies, pop-culture references, celebrity cameos and tidy resolutions. Working from a script by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, Lord and Miller manage to freshen this retread with self-awareness and a genuine layer of compassion.