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Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are perfect for each other — anyone can see that. The stars of 22 Jump Street may be going back to school this Friday, but they have a kind of chemistry that can’t be taught. “If I wasn’t with my wife and Jonah had lady parts,” says Tatum, “I would probably ask him out.”

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Hill and Tatum discuss their new movie, a sequel so self-aware it’s practically sentient, and trade jokes, compliments, and insults like one of those couples who finish each other’s sentences and french fries. “We are a quote-unquote odd couple,” says Hill. “That dynamic is true of our relationship on screen and off screen. We are incredibly different, we come from incredibly different worlds, and it is a yin and yang thing.”

On paper, their pairing is unexpected, to say the least: an Oscar-nominated jokester of Apatovian origins and a beefcake action star with a minimal shirt budget. But the two go together like chocolate and peanut butter, which was a big reason why 2012’s 21 Jump Street grossed $200 million worldwide. “It was a completely unexpected hit for us,” says Dwight Caines, Sony’s head of marketing. “These guys together are so good, they play off each other so well, and it’s apparent on-screen that they actually like each other. They’re the core of the brand.”

The sequel sends Tatum’s Jenko and Hill’s Schmidt to college, a natural progression from the high school-set first film. But the 22 Jump Street team, which includes returning directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie), didn’t take the prospect of doing a second film lightly. “From the second we decided to make a sequel,” says Hill, “it was like, ‘We have to really be hard on ourselves for the fact that we’re making a sequel.”

For more from Hill and Tatum about their onscreen bromance, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.

22 Jump Street
  • Movie
  • 112 minutes