Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter hungers for a big, hilarious studio comedy and finds one in a rewatch — with commentary — of 22 Jump Street.
Even if 2020 hadn’t been the year it’s been so far, it would stand out for its lack of funny comedies. Sure, there have been some fun movies, but the last big, laugh out loud comedy to hit theaters was Good Boys which opened in August of 2019. It’s true! Anyway, the desire for something heavy on the laughs drove me to a rewatch of 2014’s 22 Jump Street. And guess what? The damn thing is still an absolute rarity of a sequel that holds up against its predecessor.
Both films are new to 4K UltraHD and carry over all of their extras including commentary tracks, so keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary for 22 Jump Street!
22 Jump Street (2014)
Commentators: Phil Lord & Chris Miller (directors), Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum (actors)
1. The filmmakers apparently added a soft cough into the back right channel of the sound mix right before the Sony logo appears on screen. It was in theater prints only, and “then everybody at Sony freaked out about it.” They add that they weren’t allowed to add it to the Blu-ray as it might freak out people watching alone at home.
2. The white parrot broke free of its guideline at 6:41 and actually “attacked” Hill. “That was not acting,” says Hill. “I don’t like birds.”
3. The “cube of ice” joke was originally “block of frozen water,” but no one ever laughed as it was apparently one step too many.
4. The commentary was recorded the day after the film’s Los Angeles premiere, and some of them have hangovers.
5. The initial plan for Mercedes (Jillian Bell) was to “Winklevoss her” and use CG to create an identical twin.
6. Tatum was no fan of being caught up in the first film’s improvised riffing, but he was far more comfortable with it during the sequel.
7. The Doritos product placement at 23:50 is a sly nod to the impending return of Rob Riggle‘s Mr. Walters from the first film. If you recall, he was the villain whose love for Cool Ranch Doritos connected him to the illicit substances.
8. They’re all joking about having filmed the prison scene in a real New Orleans prison, but Hill brings the mood down by recalling how they saw a “woman with no face” there.
9. “I don’t ever need to work with Kurt Russell,” says Tatum, “because I have essentially worked with him.” He’s referring to co-star Wyatt Russell who “looks so much like him when I would stare in his eyes.” Interestingly, Tatum went on to make a cameo appearance in The Hateful Eight, starring Kurt Russell, just one year later.
10. Maya Angelou died two weeks before the film’s release, and they had no time to swap out the reference. They decided it was okay, though, as it’s not disrespectful.
11. They were all floored by Bell’s banter with Hill in the morning scene. The filmmakers note that it was the first time they ever saw Hill on his heels. “It’s like she thinks about what I’m gonna say before I say it and says it better and funnier than I was.”
12. The old guy with the broken ankle trying to pass Hill at 53:08 wasn’t a planned bit. It cuts right before Hill turns to the camera to ask what the hell that was about as he was wondering if the filmmakers were messing around with him. “I’m just gonna stay in the scene and see what happens,” he recalls thinking.
13. They tried to get Cate Blanchett for the end credits sequence as a follow-up to the carte blanche joke, but she was “busy” elsewhere.
14. The chase scene where they’re worried about causing expensive damage was actually hampered by Sony insisting they start trimming costs. The Robotics Lab joke plays into that as the entire gag is CG, but they feel like they messed up with the name as “robotics” doesn’t immediately scream “expensive.”
15. “We melted the end zone,” they say as the goal post explodes into flame. The fire was three times larger than they expected, and it actually damaged the end zone of this field — that had been built after Hurricane Katrina for the local schools to come together and play upon. They obviously paid to restore everything to its former glory.
16. The Spring Break sequence originally included some topless females, but “it turns out boobs are not funny.”
17. The sign for Gringo Pendejo’s was illegal — it’s essentially saying White Motherfuckers — so they had to shoot it and immediately cover it up.
18. They tried to do two things at the film’s premiere — they wanted to drive up in the little football helmet car, and Tatum wanted to drive the Lamborghini past the theater a couple times and rev the engine — but Sony nixed both. “I’m looking at the Sony representative right now.”
19. The initial fight between Hill and Bell was improvised and captured in a single (two camera) take. When she moves in for a kiss you can see Hill almost laugh and look over to Lord & Miller just out of frame at 1:31:09. He looks to them a few more times during the scene, and they’re all loving it.
20. The drunk girl who gets on Tatum’s shoulders during his fight scene against the twin bad guys is Mickey Facchinello. Tatum also carried her around while filming Jupiter Ascending (2015) as she was Mila Kunis’ stunt double.
21. The red handkerchief on Tatum’s hand is the one Richard Grieco wore on the original television show. A scene between the two was cut from the film but is available on the Blu-ray.
22. They regret not having the two kiss at the end of the film after they come out of the ocean.
23. The film originally ended with the pair saying they never wanted to do this again, but test audiences didn’t respond well so they created the multiple variations — medical school, a semester at sea, etc — just a month before the film opened.
Best in Context-Free Commentary
“I saw the dude from Mumford & Sons!”
“[Nick] Offerman has the best face to cut away to.”
“My only movie I think my dad’s actually enjoyed that I’ve been in is this movie.”
“Why is this funny?”
“This could definitely be in Paul Blart, but whatever.”
“Do you remember how hard I fought for pigs?”
“Look how big this dude is here to the left just staring at Jonah’s ass.”
“You do not want to be at Margaritaville at like seven AM in the French Quarter.”
A rewatch of 22 Jump Street, even one with the commentary track playing, reveals this to be a modern comedy classic, and the commentary confirms all four talents as funny people even without a script before them. They share anecdotes from the film’s production, talk about how much rum they drank along the way, and reveal a deep respect and appreciation for each other and the rest of the cast and crew. Their love for Jillian Bell is especially entertaining, and they even respect those of us listening to the commentary by talking all the way until the very end of the credits. Now if we could only convince the quartet to get moving on 23 Jump Street…
Read more Commentary Commentary from the archives.