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For those of you not familiar with MTV's "Jackass" stunt-and-gross-out show, then I wonder just exactly where you've been for the last three or four years. Geared toward the lowest-common-denominator demographic, but yet one of the guiltiest pleasures for many who seem beyond the intelligence level of its target audience, "Jackass" features a troupe of guys, led by Johnny Knoxville, whose sole purpose seems to be to outdo each other on the shock value scale. And now, after success on the small screen, they've made it to the world of the multiplex -- and borrowing from an old cliche, they've decided that the formula ain't broke, so they ain't fixin' it.
All 80 minutes of JACKASS: THE MOVIE are no different from what you see on the telly, except that the raunch factor can be turned up quite a bit thanks to the R rating. I was curious when I saw this movie how exactly I was going to write about people doing stupid shit and me subsequently laughing my balls off for an hour and a half. I'm still not sure, so I'm just gonna write about what I can remember about the movie from my viewing experience. Oh yeah, I guess it helps to mention that I saw this movie drunk. Not like a couple of beers tipsy, but like a pint of bourbon and a six pack drunk. So my memory might be a little fuzzy in places, but I can tell you this: There's no better state of mind you can be in to fully appreciate this film.
First off: JACKASS: THE MOVIE has not one socially or artistically redeeming qualities whatsoever. Not a one. Not that that probably suprises you, but I just figured I'd let you know just for your health. But alas, it's funny as hell. I seriously don't think I've ever laughed this hard at anything for such an extended period of time. My face hurt when it was all said and done. The stunts they pull are more outrageous than what I'd seen on television. I was expecting disappointment simply because the show has become more tame in recent months, but I was glad to be wrong. Of course, the "stuff that couldn't be shown on TV" often just consists of lots of naked male genetalia and/or other naughty bits, which did me no service, but we do get to hear Bam Marguera's mother finally drop an F-bomb.
Without spoiling too much, I'll fill you in on some of the things in this film that make Knoxville and Company truly earn their title of "Jackass". Johnny and his crew rent a car and then travel to a demolition derby, and after taking part in the event, attempt to return the vehicle to the dealer without penalty. Several of them hang on tightropes above a pit of alligators with their trousers filled with raw poultry. Veteran skateboarder Tony Hawk shows up and chums up with the gang, trying to land tricks while wearing a sumo fat suit. Toughman fighter Eric "Butterbean" Esch shows up and pours some damage on the crew in the middle of a department store. The gang launches bottle rockets from one of the most sensitive of orifices, shortly after strapping the same fireworks to rollerblades. The guys gress up as old men and scoot around town on wheelchairs and commit petty larceny right in front of the storeowners. There are also interesting uses for pole vaults, public "testing" of toilets on display at the local hardware store, and a ton of make-you-writhe-in-your seat bodily stunts involving paper cuts, snorting wasabi, and tasers to the genitals.
Some of the stunts work better than others, and I have to specifically mention the golf kart demolition derby scene as one in particular that is just so simple and yet so outrageous that it had me rolling in laughter. Some things I could do without, such as the infamous "yellow snow" gag, but for the most part I was in tears being amused by the antics of Johnny, Steve-O, Wee Man, and the others.
Oh, and let us not spoil too much about the final sequence, which I will tell you involves toy cars, anal lube, a condom, and Rip Taylor, who at nearly 70 years old, is looking pretty rough (as a friend of mine put it, he's just kind of looking like a big gay liver spot.) It's outrageous, and definitely serves as a nice endcap to the rest of the movie's stunts.
JACKASS: THE MOVIE isn't for everyone. That goes without saying. Critics have either been taking it at face value and loving this movie, or trying to analyze it and slamming it. Face it: This is a movie you can't do anything but just sit back and enjoy. If you don't find yourself laughing at the sheer audacity and novelty of the whole thing, then it's about time you loosened up that suit and tie and learned to relax a bit. I mean, who isn't even just slightly amused just at the simple idea of a man diving into whale shark-infested waters with his pants full of shrimp? It's the kind of thing you know you want to see, you're just glad it ain't you in there. On a scale of pure entertainment, this sucker gets a ten.
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