Here's Judge Ryan Keefer, and this is the sequel to the cinematic tour-de-force that is Jackass Number Two.
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: The Box Set (published December 6th, 2005), Jackass: The Lost Tapes (published October 24th, 2009), Jackass: The Movie (published March 25th, 2003), and Jackass: The Movie: Unrated Special Collector's Edition (published September 5th, 2006) are also available.
"I don't know. It seems like the people that we make all the money
for…still want more money!"
The first Jackass film did surprisingly well, making almost $80 million worldwide on a meager budget (most of which I'm sure went to travel, booze and a ginormous supply of mind-altering chemical substances). At the time, Johnny Knoxville and gang were spent, they went past the point of no return and were comfortable riding into the sunset. Then a second film was proposed. So how can you top the first?
Facts of the Case
Brace yourself, you're going to be surprised here, but there's not that much to Jackass 2. Through a couple handfuls of television episodes and a movie, there was a wasteland of unsuccessful car jumping, tee-shirt burning and broken bones incurred by a wealth of recessive-trait kids in Middle America. And since Millhouse Van Houten uttered the immortal words, "the warnings make me want to do it more!" the attempts to do generally dumb things for a laugh continue.
The folks at Paramount did manage to low-key the return of Messrs. Knoxville, Margera, Dunn and O. And in bringing up the type of critical scathing that the first one received, they've managed to cleverly diffuse the piling on that folks may have wanted to do on a film such as this. I mean really, when the first film was slaughtered and was a guidepost for poor taste, since the sensibilities and good taste standards seemed to have taken one step back (or forward, depending on your point of view), in the five or so years since the first film, Jackass Number Two's audience may not be as anticipatory as the first one was, but the prospects for appealing to a larger crowd are a lot more promising than they were the first go round. Everyone knows what you're going to get when you see it, so what's the problem? Well as far as the production goes, the problem seems to be the ole' panim for many of the guys. Knoxville has gone onto mainstream movies, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O and Chris Pontius went back to MTV for more television exposure (Bam and Ryan did the generally goofy Viva La Bam, Dunn went on to do the short-lived Homewreckers and Steve and Chris did the nature appreciation show on crack in Wildboyz).
So in this headache, inspiration came a-knockin'. Instead of doing stunts and antics for the crowds, the boys turned their entertainment to one another, ensuring the sequel would be a better film than the first. One prank that eventually winds up getting the most screentime is one that if you see it, you will cover your eyes, or flat out wretch at. And it's not because it's gross. Well, it is because it's gross, but the scene proves to be such an elaborate prank that it borders on genius. You'll laugh, you'll flinch, and the end results in a bunch of back to back payoffs.
Like the first film, Paramount loads Jackass Number Two up with a bunch of supplemental material that's entertaining in parts and downright tedious in others. There's a commentary with the cast (minus Margera) that seems to get sloppier as the beers get more and more consumed. Since Margera is absent, he immediately becomes the point of any and all ridicule and impersonations. Some of the stories around the inspiration for the stunts (and the injuries suffered afterwards) abound, but a lot of it is the usual joking and superficial ribbing. The making of featurette is the same one from MTV when the film was about to premiere, as the cast and crew discuss how it came together and the differences between then and now. Knoxville's particular adventure search is covered, as after the film's wrap, he is found with a camera crew, running into traffic signs. At some point, it's gotta be enough for the guy. In Jackass 3, he's going to get himself really hurt. Write it down. Next up is an hour of deleted and unused material, along with a surprisingly unfunny blooper reel. The deleted scenes are OK, the extended scenes feature the longer celebrity cameos of Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Willie Garson (Sex and the City), both of whom seem to enjoy getting shocked, either by stun guns or old World War II army field phones (Wilson feels "strangely energized" from his stunt). Most of the footage falls flat, though there are a few that are fairly funny. Following the meaty stuff is some smaller bland stuff, like a video, a trailer, some promo spots and a stills gallery.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
One of the tactics the guys used is for Knoxville and friend Spike Jonze (yes that one, from Being John Malkovich) to dress up with some pretty convincing prosthetics simulating old age and let themselves loose on the citizens of California. These bits were funny at first, but were way too persistent through the film, and a music video at one point was basically a waste of three minutes in an hour and a half that was a little too long as it was.
You know what you'll get when you watch or buy Jackass Number Two. You may not see Party Boy, but you'll see more arse than a Scottish prostitute, the laughs are just as good as and even a little more consistent than the last one. Besides, they're not reinventing the cinematic wheel; they're just using it to run themselves over. Use that chapter button during the 90-year-old married couple scenes, and you've got yourself an entertaining romp.
Warning: the Not Guilty verdict for Jackass Number Two is performed by a professional, so neither you nor your dumb little paralegal buddies should attempt anything from this case.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary with the Jackass Gang
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