No doubt fans of 21 Jump Street recognized plenty of callbacks and self-deprecating cracks made by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in the über-meta sequel 22 Jump Street. From a running gag about how sequels are more expensive versions of the exact same thing (including undercover partners Schmidt and Jenko’s high-tech new HQ, which Jenko describes as cool “as a Cube of Ice”) to the line ”F— you, doves!” (surely a throwback to the first installment’s fan-favorite line “F— you, science!”), the movie was chockablock with them.
That said, judging from some conspicuous moments of silence during gags at the screening I attended on Friday night, some of the deeper-cut references went over viewers’ heads. Hill is a real comedy geek and co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The LEGO Movie was bursting at the seams with pop-culture riffs, so it’s only fair that more of their flourishes get full credit.
Below, we list a few of 22 Jump Street’s loving homages to comedy greats, cameos, and gangsta rap. (SPOILERS!)
10 embedded inside jokes:
21 Jump Street: Officer Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp’s character in the TV show that inspired this film series) wasn’t able to rejoin Jenko and Schmidt after being fatally shot in the first movie, but Officers Dennis Booker (Richard Grieco) and Harry Truman Ioki (Dustin Nguyen, in a non-speaking role) dropped in for cameos at the end of 22.
Annie Hall: During a montage set to John Waite’s 1984 soft-rock hit “Missing You,” Jenko and Zook (Wyatt ”son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt” Russell) aren’t on the same page about lobsters, just like Annie and Alvie in Woody Allen’s 1977 Best Picture winner.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Sure, you probably noticed when Jenko sputtered out, “F— you, Arnold Schwarzenegger” while pumping iron with Zook, but did you notice when the Ghost (Peter Stormare) yelled, “See you, Terminator” while flying away in a helicopter? You know who else piloted a chopper? Terminator 2 baddie T-1000. And I can’t help but think that the first conversation between the undercover “brothers” and real-life twin breakouts the Lucas Bros. included an implicit nod to Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito’s 1988 flick Twins, in which Ah-nuld and Danny played unlikely ex-womb buddies – one built like a brick house, the other short and schlubby (sound familiar?).
The Benny Hill Show: A particularly shtick-y sequence involves the partners driving around in a ridiculous football helmet-mobile, pursued by the Ghost’s Hummer. Zany music plays as the two vehicles pass multiple times in front of the Benjamin Hill Center for Film Studies, acknowledging inspiration in the wacky chase scenes that frequently closed out the English comedian’s slapstick sketch show.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: You surely noticed Hill’s pal and frequent costar Seth Rogen ”stepping in” for Hill (who later denied being sidelined by contract negotiations) during the end credits, and you probably spotted Bill Hader and Anna Faris, too – but did you make the connection that Hader and Faris both starred in Cloudy, also co-directed by Lord and Miller?
Dolphin Noises: As my colleague Hillary Busis noted, Lord and Miller treated fans with another Easter egg when they included a familiar dolphin sound in the opening set-up’s exotic animal truck chase. Dolphin references are one of Lord and Miller’s signatures; you can find them in every episode of the pair’s cult favorite TV series Clone High.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith: In the middle of their, ahem, climactic confrontation, Schmidt tells Mercedes (Jillian Bell) not to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” him. Of course it’s a joke about the fighting-as-foreplay dynamic between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the spy-spouse movie, but surely Hill was the one who pushed for the shout-out to Pitt –with whom he just happened to costar in Moneyball, the movie that scored Hill his first Oscar nod.
Red Herring: The tattoo on Rooster’s (Jimmy Tatro) upper arm, which the meathead claims was his high school mascot, is a commonly used storytelling convention wherein one clue distracts from others that could solve an investigation.
Straight Outta Compton: After Schmidt learns Maya (Amber Stevens) is the daughter of his boss Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and joins the family for a super-awkward parents weekend luncheon, Mrs. Dickson (Queen Latifah) mentions that she’s “straight outta Compton,” paying homage to the 1988 album that put Cube and his gangsta rap quintet N.W.A on the map.
¡Three Amigos!: The credit sequence featuring an irreverent send-up of endless franchise extensions was packed with pop-culture in-jokes, but I’ll point to one in which Tatum and Hill wear mariachi suits that bear a striking resemblance to garb worn by SNL legends Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase in the 1986 film directed by legendary comedy helmer John Landis. (Only one question: Why didn’t Latifah return for Jump Street’s Beauty School sequel?)
And three awkwardly timely gags:
Homophobic Slurs: Jenko attends a course on human sexuality and realizes he used hate speech throughout high school – primarily against Schmidt. An entire conversation about not using the F-word twinges a little since Hill lobbed the very same word at a paparazzo and apologized profusely on The Tonight Show June 3.
Maya Angelou: After Schmidt mangles a poetry slam, there’s a running bit where he’s referred to as Maya Angelou, the poet laureate who passed away at age 86 two weeks before the film’s release.
Tracy Morgan: A psychology professor performs an ill-timed impression of the SNL/30 Rock vet, who remains in critical condition after a horrible June 7 car accident.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, so feel free to hat tip your favorite (and most cringe-worthy) references in the comments.