JACKASS FOREVER – Review – We Are Movie Geeks



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Hmmm, is 2022 turning out to be a twenty-year anniversary celebration for several beloved film franchises? Could be. After all. the year started a tad early for the still-formidable box-office juggernaut, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, which arrived with two weeks left of the previous year, and about six months ahead of that first web-head feature’s 20th this May. And just last weekend Disney+ hosted the latest animated outing, THE ICE AGE ADVENTURES OF BUCK WILD, the sixth in the series that started two months before Spidey. Now, these flicks are pretty “family-friendly”.Not one entry in this series could ever be trimmed to meet anything but an “R” rating (many would say a “hard R”). So, heed that “black-screened-backed disclaimer/warning” for the sake of yourself and your loved ones (and anybody nearby) because those deranged daredevil doofuses as back in JACKASS FOREVER.

Now, this is where I’d normally try to summarize the story and plot without giving too much away. That doesn’t work for this as it’s basically a collection of stunts and stupidity. It opens with a gleeful homage to the big monster movies that bombarded the TV airwaves on countless Saturday afternoons. Each member of the “merry band’ is introduced and spotlighted. Their “leader’. the “Moe” to these stooges is Phillip-John Clapp AKA Johnny Knoxville, the franchise’s genial host and “mastermind” (yeah, I guess we can say that). Many of his cohorts like Steve-O and Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna go all the way back to the 2000 MTV series. There are some newer faces as a “passing of the torch” (with fire extinguishers at the ready) occurs with the addition of new “cast members” like Zach Holmes and the African-American father/son “tag-team” of Jaspar Dolphin and Compton “Dark Shark” Wilson. And there’s a bit of “glass-ceiling shattering” when Rachel Wolfson joins in on the slapstick stunts. Plus they’ve packed in a few special celebrity “guest stars”. From the music world, you’ll see “Machine Gun” Kelly (no he didn’t bring his fiance) and Tyler the Creator, along with Eric Andre (who was inspired by the guys for last year’s BAD TRIP). Several of the best “bits” are inspired by the movies (a great send-up of the “pitch black” finale of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), while many involve dangerous animals, who embody the whole idea of the “wild card” (though he’s got a wildlife name, “Dark Shark” is truly unnerved by them). It all builds to an “anything goes’ military-themed battle royale which pokes fun at the firepower of countless action blockbusters. And there are some tasty tidbits “off to the side’ while the end credits roll past.

As if a synopsis isn’t tough enough, a “yeah or nay” review is almost maddening. But then a flick like this is close to “review-proof”. It’s the old nugget that “if you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you’ll like”. Fans of the MTV show and the five (yup) other feature films, will have a rollicking good time. And I will admit to laughing hard (tear trickles rolling down) more than I should admit. Somehow these shenanigans unleash the ten-year-old boy inside us that chuckles at a pratfall (up to a certain age). These are almost live-action incarnations of the Looney Tunes gang (or Famous or Terrytoons), rubbery clowns who get smacked down, but who heals (enough) to reform in the next scene. Perhaps a better comparison may be to the silent cinema clowns, especially the “thrill comics” like Buster Keaton and particularly Harold Lloyd, who make you gasp in terror before turning it into a loud guffaw. What also stands out is the creativity of the “planners’ who form these sequences and then erect the Rube Goldberg devices of comedy “torture” (the engineering that goes into the perfect “groin gag”). We’re often shaking our heads thinking “How’d they come up with that?”. And the changing times have affected the stunts. There’s more concern for the safety of the animals involved (it seems) than the cast (hear that PETA). And when a deadly critter lands on the breast of Ms. Wolfson, the fellas frantically plead for her permission to brush it away. The photography is top-notch, getting in every bit of the agony (a wonder considering the weak “gag-reflex” of one of the cameramen) as is the editing using precise slow motion to pinpoint the punishment. But it’s not the abuse that really endures at the film’s end. It’s obvious that these guys (and lady), despite the teasing and grumbling, truly love each other. They share the cuts and bruises and a true affection as each “feat” bonds them as brothers (of the bandages). It’s goofy and silly, but a bit wistful as most of the originators, like Danny Glover’s Murtaugh, are “Getting too old for this s#*t” (we see Knoxville’s hair go from auburn to silver as he screams “Don’t shoot my bald spot!”). Yes, they don’t heal as quickly now, but each and everyone is a JACKASS FOREVER.

3 out of 4

JACKASS FOREVER is now playing in theatres everywhere

Jim Batts was a contestant on the movie edition of TV's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2009 and has been a member of the St. Louis Film Critics organization since 2013.