The concept behind Jackass isn’t new now and it wasn’t new back when the show premiered on MTV in the fall of 2000. People have been doing practical jokes on unsuspecting victims for decades. And people have been doing crazy stunts for the entertainment of others, even if it was their own circle of friends, as well.
All the TV show Jackass did was aim a camera at it and broadcast it on TV. A decade before Jackass premiered, people were tuning into America’s Funniest Home Videos to watch people accidentally get hit in the groin or to fall off a roof or down a flight of stairs. We laugh because it didn’t happen to us. As Mel Brooks said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall in an open sewer and die.”
And I’ll be brutally honest. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard when I’ve watched all three previous Jackass movies. The gang behind Jackass have assembled as they have reported for one last time for Jackass Forever. Absent is Ryan Dunn, who died in a vehicle accident in 2011 and Bam Margera, whose reported substance abuse, led to him getting fired, even though he still appears in one stunt. But since most of the original gang is in their 40s and 50s, there’s only so much damage the human body can take.
Johnny Knoxville, one of the creators of the show, is now 51. So if you’re going to go out for the last time, go out with a bang.
Knoxville, along with Steve-O, Chris Pontius (whose endowment is put to good use during the opening credits), Dave Englund, Preston Lacy, Ehren McGhehey, and Jason Acuna, aka “Wee Man” are back with newcomers Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Eric Manaka, Sean “Poopsies” McInerney and Rachel Wolfson, breaking down the Boys Club style of the original. In many ways, I can see a lot of people I knew and grew up with attempting these dangerous stunts and gags just for five minutes of laughter amongst each other.
And the movies and show could be a time capsule as well as case study for how many men act amongst themselves. These guys spend a lot of time in their underwear, kicking or hitting each other in the groin or running around naked. Their behavior represents an openness among heterosexual men that anthropologists will probably study in the centuries in the future if human civilization doesn’t collapse in on itself.
It’s hard to review this movie because it does exactly what it intends to do and does it so well. There’s no plot really but I hate to give away some of the gags because there are a lot of surprises. Yes it’s raunchy like the first three movie and there are scenes of human excrement and people vomiting. And animal rights activists may not like certain stunts even with the appearance of animal trainers on screen.
In the end, what you get is a good hour and half of dangerous gags and stunts that make you laugh but at the same time make you ask, why? It’s a wonder the original gang has lasted so much these past 20 years. While the controversy surrounding Magera during production seemed to make put a damper on the movie, it was one of the first movies to be filmed through the Covid-19 pandemic. The release date was delayed several times in 2021 before finally hitting theaters Feb. 4 and reportedly it has made $78 million. You can also stream it on Paramount-Plus.
What do you think? Please comment.