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Hammerle On … '22 Jump Street,' 'The Grand Seduction'

Robert Hammerle
July 2, 2014
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“22 Jump Street”

The only reason I bought a ticket for “22 Jump Street” was to find out why this movie was such a box office hit. And if I had followed my repeated instincts to walk out during the first three-quarters of the film, I still wouldn’t know. However, I was cursed with my commitment to see all films through to their ending.

And it’s fortunate that I did, as the last quarter of the film involves some very funny moments, and it completely saves the whole experience. Without it, there is little that is creative or enjoyable. Think of living in Indianapolis and supporting a cricket stadium while opposing a raise in the minimum wage.

As you know, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play two police officers – Schmidt and Jenko, respectively, who are now assigned to impersonate college students as they investigate a new drug appearing at a college campus. Our boys are as dull as they are sanctimonious, and their interaction is brutally insipid. The film treats them like two of the Marx brothers, and they would be better cast as the human recreation of the Tom & Jerry cartoon characters.

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On top of that, Ice Cube once again plays a one-dimensional police captain in charge of our lads, and he is good at profanity and little else.

Schmidt becomes repeatedly jealous of Jenko’s acceptance by a local fraternity as well as a star position on the football team, and he pouts like a school girl jealous of her boyfriend’s other interests. Schmidt and Jenko look like petulant teenagers.

Mercifully, the ending literally pulled “22 Jump Street” out of cinematic quicksand. As our boys miraculously avoided being shot to death by armed gangsters, a hysterical sequence occurs when Schmidt physically confronts a villainous female student. Played by Jillian Bell, she produces a laugh with every line. For example, as she sought to club Schmidt senseless, she would suddenly stop and accuse him of trying to kiss her. When he viciously hits her in the face knocking her to the ground, jumping on her to choke her, she responds with the accusation that he was trying to have sex with her. Now that was funny.

Finally, without giving away an ending that you all can predict, you have to watch the outtakes with the closing credits. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller continually show future imagined sequels to Jump Street, picking out numbers from 23 to infinity. We see our boys working undercover at a veterinary school, a medical school, a dance school, and then as old men in a retirement home. You couldn’t help but leave the theater thinking that you had actually watched a good film. You knew you were wrong, but you didn’t really care.

“The Grand Seduction”

It is unfortunate that “The Grand Seduction” dealt with a premise that has played quite well in the past. Here we have a small fishing village located in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where nearly everyone is unemployed. Living on welfare and lost pride, they need to lure a doctor to their town in order to land an oil company toying with the idea of building a factory.

Similar themes worked well on TV from 1990-1995 with “Northern Exposure,” and resulted in a delightful little film starring Michael J. Fox in “Doc Hollywood” (1991). But the folks conning Fox’s Dr. Benjamin Stone did not consider selfishness to be a virtue.

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Sadly, the film also suffered from the fact that most members of the town were elderly gentlemen who spent their welfare checks downing whiskey in bars. Regretting their lost opportunities on the sea, they suddenly found the possibility of hope when a young medic by the name of Dr. Lewis was assigned to spend 30 days in their town.

It almost appeared that the town was completely devoid of children and young women. The only attractive woman of any note was Kathleen (Liane Balaban) who stayed sane for unknown reasons. Our conniving group of lugs wanted her to serve as bait for Dr. Lewis, but she proved to be the only resident with a sense of honor.

Where the movie also lost its footing was with the performance of Taylor Kitsch as Dr. Lewis. It seems that he was stopped at an airport for possession of cocaine when returning to the States following a vacation, and Tickle Cove was his punishment. On top of that, Dr. Lewis was devoid of any common sense.

What really hurts the most about criticizing this film was the fact that it starred the wonderful Brendan Gleeson as Murray French, the heavily bearded, whiskey-swilling leader of Tickle Cove’s residents. Having relished his fabulous performance as an Irish police officer in “The Guard” (2011), I couldn’t help but feel that he would emulate that role here. However, he was a con man, nothing more and nothing less. And it was terribly upsetting how he organized two local women to secretly record all of the doctor’s phone calls when he called home to converse with a distant fiancée.

More to the point, if you want to watch a similar film that will completely capture your heart, then go see one of the great films ever made, “Local Hero” (1983). Though the scenery in “The Grand Seduction” is appealing, the cinematography in “Local Hero” was magical.

It involves ubiquitous locals who love to have a good time, a beautiful beach combing woman with webbed feet and a fantastic married couple running the local hotel who can’t resist having sex.

See “The Guard” and “Local Hero” and leave “The Grand Seduction” on the shelf.•

__________

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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