Quite possibly the funniest movie of the year, and the year just started!
It is interesting to see just how far the Jackass brand has grown since its humble beginnings. What started off as a series of filmed stunts for Big Brother Magazine quickly developed into the popular MTV show, simply titled Jackass. While highly controversial for its dangerous content, Jackass managed to take the world by storm and lasted for three seasons. What followed from there were spin off shows, video games, comedy tours, and, of course, movies. From 2002-2013, Paramount Pictures produced 4 feature length theatrical films based around Jackass, including the hidden camera/narrative hybrid, Bad Grandpa. Needless to say, Jackass grew bigger than anyone could have ever imagined.
After over twelve years since Jackass 3D‘s release, and following the unfortunate passing of Ryan Dunn, no one would’ve ever expected another Jackass film to be made. The members are clearly older, and suffice to say, wouldn’t be able to do the painful stunts the way they used to. However, lo and behold, Johnny Knoxville and his crew, which includes Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, and Ehren Mcghehey, have come together once again to make one more film, Jackass Forever. This time they are joined by a group of newcomers, including Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Jasper, and “Poopies,” to cause some more mischief and mayhem for the sake of laughter. Some of their stunts include recreations of old favorites like “the cup test,” new bits like “the quiet game,” where contestants have to kiss rattlesnakes and tasers without making a sound, and stunts that are so gross, that they should to be seen to be believed.
After nearly two years of living in COVID conditions, audiences certainly need something to laugh at and distract themselves from the dread. Thankfully, Jackass Forever is that perfect distraction. Of course, one’s enjoyment of Jackass Forever will ultimately depend on their feelings towards Jackass in general. Those who do not have a strong stomach best stay away, because this film is relentlessly violent and gross. For fans though, the film gives them exactly what they wanted, and in a sweetly-made package.
From beginning to end, the film is balls to the wall hilarious and doesn’t take any cheap shots, unless they are to someone’s scrotum area. It is fun seeing the original cast members back to causing shenanigans, and the newcomers are also welcome additions. The crew members’ chemistry is like magic, and their sense of carefree fun rubs off on the audience. Even though these people know what they are doing is dangerous, they are doing it for our entertainment, and seem to be having a blast in the process. This makes Jackass seem more congenial than any ordinary schmoe posting videos of themselves doing something stupid.
A big part of what makes Jackass wonderful just how creative the stunts and set pieces are, and there are plenty of great ones here. The opening credits sequence, which is a parody of a Godzilla movie, is easily the best opener of all the Jackass movies. The reveal of what kind of creature is attacking the city is gut-bustingly hilarious, and the sketch just keeps building in its vulgarity without losing any steam or laughs.
Compared to the previous Jackass films, the stunts in this film are consistently funny with very little dry spots. The addition of the newcomers definitely helps add some freshness to the insanity on screen, and the commentary and reactions by everyone are just as hilarious as the stunts themselves. Some of the best stunts in the film are the ones that act like Russian dolls, where the pranks that follow are more elaborate and actually trick participants into something far more torturous. The stand-out is “Silence of the Lambs”, where members are trapped in separate dark rooms that may or may not contain a snake, and it it genuinely tense to watch. It is good to know that even after such a long time away, the crew members themselves have not lost any steam.
One can list and describe all of the sketches, but the best way to experience them is just by going to the theater to see them. Watching these films is one thing, but watching them with a crowd is a whole different experience. In an age where people seem divided on entertainment, Jackass Forever feels like a film that will bring people together. The film does not concern itself with politics, nor with any of the problems our world is currently facing. The film is exactly what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. All it asks its audience to do is have a good time, as a real comedy should. That alone should be enough of a recommendation.