The beautiful thing about movie posters is they can capture your imagination and transport you to worlds more vivid than the one Neo jacks into from the Nebuchadnezzar. They are pure fantasy and what fantasy is greater than this: to be surrounded by a literally frothing metaphorical “sea” of unclothed strangers packed shoulder-to-shoulder, all insisting aggressively, violently, selfishly, that they are the guest of honor above all others. If that is your steeze as it is the steeze of this humble reviewer, then the poster for 22 Jump Street pays off in spades.
With their beer muskets raised to the sky like colonial cave men worshiping their primitive sun-god, the party-goers’ paraphernalia creates a colorful array like so many Haribo gummies scattered across the horizon. A great majority are facing some unseen spectacle just barely hidden in the center of the party. We are left to guess what it might be, but based on the enthusiasm of the crowd it is likely two innocent animals being forced to fight each other to death (as is customary in this part of the world) and the bloodletting is getting everyone horny and frenzied. A dermatologist would be having grand mal seizures of joy from all the flesh to inspect at this party and not a mole or birthmark in sight.
The party appears to be in Cancun or Ft. Lauderdale or something, but in fact production dollars were saved by shooting in Connecticut, as evidenced by the hundreds of extras, not a one of whom isn’t descended from melanoma-prone northern European ancestry. I imagine this is meant to look like one of those Euro-style resorts where no one is allowed to show their eyeballs in public because not a single one can be seen.
Throughout this poster are innumerable supporting performances that I will never be able to forget and will probably think of every day for the rest of my awesome life. It’s impossible to single any out but one of my favorites is the flower-headed maiden on the far left, shrewdly sniffing her beer to see if it’s still good to drink because a moment prior she unexpectedly threw up a little bit into her own cup but no one saw and it’s not really enough to spoil the whole beverage, and if she just slurps the mucoidal discharge up off the top layer and spits it on the ground she can save the remaining beer because they cost like $12 a fill. Her beautiful headdress perfectly recalls an Edwardian-era beauty. Another fantastic cameo is made by Justin Bieber just off to the right, clearly visible with his backwards “asshole hat” pulled down over his eyebrows. His tattoos are airbrushed off because even at this young age he regrets such a desperate and ugly desecration of his body, but we are able to see a narrow blue bruise along the side of his neck: a vestige of the disgusting sex asphyxiations he is sadly addicted to and would not forego, even for such a high-profile movie poster as this.
But all this is just background for the engaging and lyrical story playing out in the center of the poster featuring our two buxom heroes, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. For the uninitiated it’s slightly confusing: why in a crowd of hundreds, all wearing the minimum amount of clothing allowed by law, are these two wearing stuffy black shirts? Having seen the previous installment of the series I have a bit of context: Channing Tatum’s character was born with an innie bellybutton four inches in diameter and two inches deep. The translucent blue-veined tissue inside is extremely sensitive and cannot be exposed to direct sunlight. Jonah Hill’s character used to be able to walk around shirtless but he developed an inoperable case of ringworm on his chest. His whole front and most of his back is covered in crusty elevated rings of oozy fungus that are too shameful to expose in public, although ironically the sunlight would do well to reduce the itchiness. (All of this is depicted on the poster for “21 Jump Street”, those curious should seek it out.)
I love that even though Jonah Hill has to wear a baggy Hawiian blouse to hide the silhouette of his embarrassingly-shaped body he can still bring people joy with his A+ novelty shirt messaging. Although neither shirt is a joke per se, each is structured like a joke and if read without thinking about what the words mean they can be very funny, maybe even funnier than if they were actually funny. The first time I viewed this poster I found the t-shirts so funny I involuntarily said “ha ha ha ha” out loud. Upon repeat viewings the t-shirts have not inspired me to say anything out loud but when I read them I will still smile so wide I look like that old guy at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! that can fit three billiard balls in his mouth at once.
Although the novelty t-shirts are each a dewdrop of pure joy the question remains: what are a couple of body-shy eyebrowless men doing with such hard-looking faces at such a raucous mostly-female party? That question is answered by the Baz Luhrmann pistols sticking out of their waistbands. Even though these two are in such a fun place of carefree celebration their real business is murdering people by putting bullets through their bodies, or making people do what they request by threatening to put bullets through their bodies. Wearing a pistol in the front waistband is a great way to get right down to it because one doesn’t even have to draw the pistol and point it at someone to threaten them: everyone will clearly see the killing tool protruding ostentatiously and will be inclined to follow any instructions in an exceedingly respectful manner. On top of this an artfully decorated pistol (made of gold (!), a very rare element) shows people that its owner has a taste for the finer killing tools in life.
This is exactly the combination of implied violence, implied humor, and implied sexual voyeurism that occupies a very specific venn diagram of great entertainment. If you like a good time you should 22 Jump-across-the-Street to view this poster!
8 out of 9 stars, highly recommend.
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