Synopsis: Celebrate the joy of being back together with your best friends and a perfectly executed shot to the dingdong, the original jackass crew return for another round of hilarious, wildly absurd, and often dangerous displays of comedy with a little help from some exciting new cast.
Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Jason Acuña, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Zach Holmes, Sean McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Rachel Wolfson
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Running Length: 96 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: It may surprise people just how short of a run the original Jackass television series had when it aired on MTV. Over fourteen months between October 2000 and February 2002, star Johnny Knoxville and an assorted crew of friends and guests would perform outlandish pranks and often dangerous stunts, all captured by camera crews and whittled down to three seasons worth of episodes. Rough going from the start, both with censors and MTV executives, Knoxville wound up packing it in earlier than expected, but fans wanted more. With added creative control (=more money) and a larger platform to deliver their brand of bizarrely juvenile yet impulsively watchable content, a total of three feature films were released between 2002 and 2010 to massive box office success. A somewhat related film, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, doesn’t quite fit, so I’m leaving that out…but don’t forget that one snagged an Oscar nomination for Best Make-up Effects.
In the ten years since the final official Jackass film came out (in 3D, if that tells you where moviemaking was at the time), much has happened with the cast and crew. One seminal member of the gang, Ryan Dunn, sadly passed away in a car accident while another was fired during the filming of the newly released Jackass Forever, for a variety of reasons you can read about here. Also, the young men already showing signs of wear and tear back in 2010 have lived another decade, now bearing the battle scars of that time. You can’t keep a good Jackass down, though. Filmed primarily during the COVID-19 pandemic and shuffled around the release schedule for nearly half a year, Jackass Forever is being unleashed into theaters hoping to cash in with the same nostalgic viewers that recently turned out for the Scream reboot.
As critic-proof a movie as they come, there’s only one scene I honestly couldn’t look at the screen for fear of gagging but other than that, Jackass Forever has the same wince-inducing stunts & more naked shenanigans than ever before. Indeed, the movie hasn’t made it through 10% of the credits before the viewer comes face to, uh, face with one of the pranksters’ oft-seen dong. It’s a funny visual, and projected on the big screen you see each nook, fold, and cranny. In fact, by the time the film has concluded, there are few Jackass-sians of which you haven’t seen every inch. I could have blocked it out, but this chapter seems particularly schlong heavy, with groins a specific focus point of stunts and pranks. These range from testicles standing in for a punching bag used by a tiny set of boxing gloves to Danger Ehren testing out a nut cup by having various sports figures do their worst to punch, pitch, and shoot into the resilient protective wear. Watch out for that pogo stick, though.
There’s a formula to these films, and director Jeff Tremaine doesn’t try to fix which so far is the only thing involved with the franchise that hasn’t been broken. For all its episodic, easily distractible editing style, I honestly appreciated that Jackass Forever remained a cohesive look at a group dynamic working overtime to entertain while still striving to stay young and wanting an audience to feel the same. Yes, you can see the film as a bunch of overgrown kids doing stupid stunts and often paying the price with bruised skin, bloody wounds, and various broken/dislocated bones. Still, at this point, it feels like that’s missing the bigger picture of what they get out of this bonding experience. We’ve all grown up, so have they…but in their minds and eyes (concussed or crossed they may be), there’s a lot of livin’ left. Why not just enjoy being a Jackass Forever with Knoxville for an easy watch that flies by with new cast members meshing well with the old.