‘This is what I’ve always wanted’: Bromance and the evolution of male intimacy in the Jump Street films | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X



For over a decade now, American popular culture has registered its fascination with the relationship between heterosexual men through the film genre of the ‘bromance’. We might have predicted the development of this genre, for it mirrors our recent shift in twenty-first century masculinities not only towards renewed fraternal connection but also towards more open emotional connection. This article focuses on the recent Jump Street movies as both nods to their ‘bromantic’ predecessors and responses to the established narrative boundaries of the genre. 21 and 22 Jump Street not only test the limits but, we would argue, explode them via three distinct but interrelated strategies: through the narrative structure of the films themselves, particularly in their representation of the bromantic relationship and the lack of heterosexual narrative closure; through their mixing of genres (buddy movie/action movie/romance/bromance); and through the queer inter- and extratextual narrative generated by what film critic Richard Dyer calls the ‘star power’ of the two leads, especially Channing Tatum. An examination of these strategies will reveal that the Jump Street films both define and defy bromantic conventions, contributing to a new understanding of male intimacy in US mainstream culture.


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