Our reviews of Jackass: Volume 1 (published December 6th, 2005), Jackass: Volumes 2 And 3 (published December 10th, 2002), Jackass 2.5 (published December 24th, 2007), Jackass Number Two: Unrated Edition (published January 4th, 2007), Jackass: The Box Set (published December 6th, 2005), Jackass: The Lost Tapes (published October 24th, 2009), and Jackass: The Movie: Unrated Special Collector's Edition (published September 5th, 2006) are also available.
Warning: do not try any of these stunts at home. If you do, it's most likely that you deserve to lose an arm or a spleen for being stupid enough to attempt them in the first place.
For those who were watching the TV show Jackass and thinking "this is nice and all, but where's the kitchen sink?," your ship has just come in Jackass: The Movie. Finally free from the constraints of those pesky network censors, Johnny Knoxville and his troupe of oddball goons have gone the distance and provided us with some of the most head-cracking, vomit inducing stunts this side of P.T. Barnum. Considering the fact that this film features a man eating a snow cone full of his own urine, you may want to pass on the popcorn this time around. Jackass: The Movie has been unleashed on DVD care of Paramount Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Like this movie even needs a description. Listen, if you've accidentally rented a film called Jackass: The Movie without prior knowledge of what it is, you are apparently living on an iceberg somewhere near the South Pole. However, I don't want hate mail letting me know that I failed to do my job as a DVD reviewer, so here goes:
Jackass: The Movie features Johnny Knoxville, Wee Man, Steve-O, and other assorted "stunt men" performing such feats as being dropped from a tree in an underwear bungee apparatus, setting off fireworks in their parents' bedroom at 3:00 in the morning, and stuffing dead shrimp into their undies while swimming with mammoth whale sharks. Not enough? You also get to see a man stuff raw chicken in his butt while suspended above alligators, witness people getting paper cuts in-between their fingers and toes, and yes…view a man as he pees on a snow cone, then proceeds to eat it.
There is no doubt in my mind that all of the participants in Jackass: The Movie were part of the learning disabilities program in grade school. How else can one account for such brazen and reckless stupidity? It's a difficult job attempting to review Jackass: The Movie—it's not fiction and it's not really a documentary (though I guess that's the closest genre I can point to). Like Tod Browning's classic horror film Freaks, Jackass: The Movie displays some of society's weirdest folks doing the most disturbing, grossest acts imaginable. The only difference is that at the end of this movie no one becomes a half-man/half-chicken mutant.
For a film of this nature, the most important question one can pose is, "is this at all engaging/entertaining/funny?" Well, if you liked the TV show on which this is based, you're going to absolutely love this movie. Yes, it's funny and entertaining, in a very sad and shameful sort of way. I laughed heartily at watching Steve-O jump headfirst into a working ceiling fan in nothing but his shorts. I also thrilled to watching as a man shove a bottle rocket up his rear, light it, and then let it fly. Another tied one to his penis, but the artistic merit to such an act is negligible. Along the way we're also treated to Johnny Knoxville nearly being killed by flipping a golf car over a miniature golf course statue, Wee Man kicking himself in the head (an impressive feat, to say the least), guys putting intensely shocking muscle stimulators on their genitals, and yes…a man actually eating a urine soaked snow cone.
Generally speaking, this movie is the TV show stretched out to a full hour and a half. The difference is that the stunts and gags often feature more destruction and mayhem than Knoxville's usual bag of tricks. The budget has been considerably upgraded, most evident when Knoxville and a few pals (including bizarro producer Spike Jonze) are thrust into old person make-up and take to the streets—there's nothing like two angry elderly people exchanging blows to get your adrenaline pumping. The funniest bits often feature the dizzying reactions of passersby, as when four Jackasses dressed as giant pandas wander through Japan, wrestling and knocking over everything in sight. Of course, when I say "funny" I think we're all hip to the fact that what I really mean is "funny in a very demented sort of way." You don't necessarily laugh the same way when Chevy Chase is making jokes as you do when Johnny Knoxville has a live baby alligator dangling, mouth first, from his bare nipples.
I guess that I could wax philosophical on the nature of this film and its appeal (the dang thing shot to number one its first weekend in theaters!), but what would be the point? Whether we want to admit it or not, we all like slowing down at the scene of an accident. Something in our Neanderthal brains both enjoys and hates seeing the worst that man has to offer. For those people, Jackass: The Movie will be an entertaining and messy romp, like Faces of Death without the grisly gore. For the rest of us, we'll stick to Merchant Ivory films and…oh, crap in a bucket, who are we kidding? It may be nasty, but when else will we ever get to see a man eat a snow cone soaked in his own piddle?
Somewhere far above the earth, Devine is laughing her/his butt off.
Jackass: The Movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Like the TV show, Jackass: The Movie has also been filmed on video, though for the theatrical release Paramount gave it a widescreen aspect ratio. The image is a mixed bag—while there is a lot of inconsistency in the colors, black levels and lighting, this is to be expected with such a low grade medium. If you've seen the show you'll know what to expect; for the rest of you, don't be surprised to find this movie looking like it was made on a budget of the price of a three-pack of VHS tapes at Target (before taxes).
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, both in English. Surprisingly, there are a few directional effects and surround sounds to be found on this disc, especially in the explosive opening sequence. The music by various alternative and heavy metal bands is also prominently displayed, as well as some background and ambient noises. Otherwise, this sound mix is fixated in the front speakers with a small amount of distortion and hiss filtering through (due in part to the video source). Also included on this disc are English subtitles.
For those of you who just can't get enough of Jackass: The Movie, Paramount has included a poop-smeared cornucopia of extra features to delight and disgust. Here's a rundown of what's on this disc:
Two Commentary Tracks: The first track is by Johnny Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine, and director of photography/co-producer Dimitry Elyashkevich and the second by various members of the Jackass cast. If you thought the movie was insane, wait'll you hear these two commentaries! Each one of these wacky tracks is balanced with equal parts production information (no, those aren't real rocks being shot at the cast in the beginning of the film) and insanity (it's the cast and crew of Jackass—need I saw more?). Yes, these guys are just as nuts off screen as they are on it.
MTV's "The Making of Jackass: The Movie" Featurette: This is pretty much what it sound likes: behind the scenes at the making of Jackass: The Movie. Unlike most other fluffy promo pieces, this one is intriguing—where else can you watch the cast waxing intellectual about their film, then see a man get his eyes doused with lemon juice? It also appears that these people's favorite pastime—aside of being complete hazards to society—is hitting each other in the yam sack with various objects. This is worth seeing just to witness what appears to be the largest vagina ever made…out of sand on a beach.
Outtakes and Additional Footage: Thrill to watching Johnny and his band of brothers either A.) performing even more death-defying, intelligence dropping stunts or B.) flubbing their lines or stunts to the point of helpless laughter of those around them. There is a wealth of stuff to be found here, including some pretty humorous outtakes of the cast messing up. Some of the additional footage hysterical (as when one performer strips to a Speedo and dances in the middle of a busy Japan crosswalk) and some of it's lame (after watching Steve-O put shrimp in his pants and swim with sharks, watching him get a live crab shoved on his rear tends to lose something). For fans of the film this stuff will be a lot of fun—for the rest of us, it's what I like to call "supplemental torture."
Two Music Videos: The first video is for the song "If You're Gonna Be Dumb" by Roger Alan Wade, and the second is "We Want Fun" by Andrew W.K. I wasn't very shocked when I realized I'd never heard of either of these singers, and was even less surprised to find I wasn't a converted fan after watching these videos (though that "Gonna Be Dumb" song is kind of catchy). These include snippets of scenes from the original TV show.
Cast and Crew Biographies, Promo Spots, Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery and Poster Gallery: These are just what they sound like—galleries featuring images from the film and of the promotional materials, a non-anamorphic widescreen trailer for the film, a few promo spots, and some cast and crew bios that are more humorous than informative.
For the love of all that's good and decent, the man actually ate and swallowed his own excrement! In a snow cone! And people paid $9 to watch him do it! Do you know what this means? I can crap on a plate, film my dog eating it, and charge folks five bucks to watch. It's the most lucrative get rich quick scheme I've ever encountered! As for Jackass: The Movie, I feel like I'm "in the know" because I saw it, but I don't know as I ever need to subject myself to that kind of punishment again.
I'll most likely be beat to a bloody pulp by the fans if I find this movie guilty (and my beating will most probably be filmed and included in Jackass: The Movie Part II.
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Scales of Justice
• Two Commentary Tracks
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