I’m not sure how to abbreviate them. Just the numbers? I don’t want to repeat “Jump Street” every time. Numbers it is.
21 is more “throw everything in and see what happens.” The closing credits are a good example of this. It’s a bunch of 2-second clips with explosions and thumping music and bits from 80’s and 90’s movies with outtakes and clips from the movie itself. 21 is meta like 22, too. It’s a combination of making fun of itself, trying to play out stereotypes so they collapse on themselves, and then going ahead and using the stereotypes.
I guess a theme is high school “then and now” and it makes “now” look a lot more accepting and fun. When Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill walk into school for the first time they walk by the stereotypical groups, goths, nerds, then they get confused when they get to the hipsters, ravers and the granola kids. Everyone has their place, at last! Hooray. And things aren’t what they seem! The drug dealer makes web pages, feels bad that his parents aren’t around, and was bullied into dealing (he’s a good kid too!). High school is such a tight structure for movies and TV that it’s easy to keep track of things when they switch around. That’s less obvious in 22 when they get to college and stuff is wide open. There’s an interview with Chris Miller and Phil Lord where Lord (I think) talks about how 21 is an optimistic movie. The basis is optimism. I think that’s why I was in a good mood after. I laughed a few times and thought it was fun, and I didn’t have to think too hard. The problems didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I didn’t need to work through anything. 22’s a little heavier – not like 12 Years a Slave heavier, but it is.
They mess around with plots between the two movies. In the sequel Tatum and Hill switch roles. In the sequel Hill asks someone about drugs in his first class and it goes a different way. Tatum still bros down in both, he never has a lady love interest, but he doesn’t need one because women fall all over themselves in front of him.
If we step back a little, right, there are some ‘messages’ that are problematic. The undercover cop falls in love with a high schooler (she’s 18, they squeeze in). They get high school kids drunk and high. Actually how they talk about getting the booze and drugs is pretty funny. But. And they take drugs. And adults take drugs. Everyone, drugs. But it’s so dang upbeat and positive about the party atmosphere high school seems to be that it doesn’t feel like as big a deal. They capture what a fun, accepting, PC high school might look like. Except the drugs.
And I loved Ice Cube, that guy should be angry in every movie.
Content – a little bit of sex this time, lots of potty mouth, a little gore, lots of sploding stuff. Drugs, drinking, hootennany.