Jackass Forever a Madcap Descent into Unhinged Madness
It’s been 12 years since director Jeff Tremaine and headliner Johnny Knoxville reassembled their team of semi-fearless nincompoops to put gravity, good taste, and how much blunt trauma testicles can take with Jackass 3D, and a full two decades since Jackass: The Movie graced theaters. Now, with the help of a few new – and understandably younger – members, this motely crew of adventurous morons returns with Jackass Forever, and it almost feels like we couldn’t have needed their presence more than we do right now.
Look. I am no fan of gross-out humor. “Frat boy” monkeyshines don’t typically get much of a rise out of me. While I’m partial to a good prank now and then, I’ve never been one to find merit in watching a never-ending series of them over the course of a couple of hours. Seeing people get blown up in a urinal and getting covered in poop just curdles my stomach in all the wrong ways.
Yet there is something about Knoxville and his crazed squad that brings a smile to my face. Not every bit lands, and there are frequent times where I’m cringing into my seat as if I could feel the pain the person performing whatever unhinged stunt these whack-a-dos have come up with for myself. But I laugh. I thrill to some of their more outlandish escapades. I keep wondering what they could possibly do next that could top any of the zanier antics they’ve done in the past. This is the glory of what Tremaine and Knoxville accomplish time and time again, and I’m continually in awe the lengths they and the gang will go to wow their appreciative captive audience.
Granted, two-plus decades of doing this sort of thing does take its toll, and Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña, and other members of the troupe are getting a little long in the tooth to keep subjecting themselves to these sorts of imbecilic endeavors. Not that this stops any of them of from continuing to test the limits of human endurance, taking chances and doing stunts that any rational person would walk quickly away from in the opposite direction muttering a quiet, “Nope.”
There are some repeats from previous Jackass installments, most notably Knoxville once again attempting to go one-on-one with a rampaging bull, and some bits rolled my stomach to the point I wanted to join along with one of the poor cameramen shooting all these capers and upchuck right into my KN95 mask. But there is real heart here, and it’s clear how much this group continues to have genuine affection for one another. Also, there’s something wickedly glorious in seeing all this extreme anarchy play itself out to conclusion, the momentary catharsis which fueled my heartiest belly laughs comfortingly sincere.
Is this a great motion picture? No. Of course not. Did watching it make me happy? Yes, to an almost impossible to describe degree. You’re either in the bag to watch these jubilant jokers do their worst or you’d rather get a root canal and your wisdom teeth pulled in one go instead of sitting through Jackass Forever. It’s still surprises that I’m in the former camp, and as long as Tremaine and Knoxville want to keep up with their shenanigans, I’ll keep returning to the theater to discover what magical madness they’ve concocted for me to witness next.
– Review reprinted courtesy of the SGN in Seattle
Film Rating: 2½ (out of 4)