jackass the movie
Directed by Jeff Tremaine. Starring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Ryan Dunn, Dave England, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ehren McGhehey. (2002, R, 87 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Nov. 1, 2002
Here's the deal: They don't call it jackass for nothing. jackass the movie is, as the title would suggest, the feature-length rendering of jackass the MTV show, meaning no plot, no script, just wall-to-wall idiocy. Led by gnarly Johnny Knoxville, the nine jerkoffs in the gang (with names like Steve-O and Wee-Man) teeter-totter between pranks on unsuspecting victims (i.e., storming a Japanese bar and bouncing around in panda suits) and self-brutalizing stunts involving fire, firecrackers, chomping crocs, yellow snowballs, paper cuts, and beer. It's silly, often stomach-churning, but also awfully addictive, inspiring the same kind of vicarious adrenaline rush as Fight Club, with its "I bleed, therefore I am"; he-man mentality. jackass the show got a bad rap a while back when a couple of kids tried to imitate a stunt they saw on TV and were injured; Sen. Joseph Lieberman then climbed aloft his soapbox to wag his finger at the show. As a result, the movie (and the series, now airing solely in reruns on MTV) are papered in warnings. Fact of the matter is, you'd have to be a numbnut to try any of these stunts, and why bother? You can have a much better time -- and risk zero bodily injury (save, maybe, some soaked pants from having laughed too hard on a too full bladder -- just snickering at the numbnuts onscreen, subjecting themselves to the likes of underwear bungee and drunken golf cart demolition derby. (By the way, I mean "numbnuts" quite literally -- these guys ruthlessly subject their groins to all kinds of wincing trauma.) Consisting of a steady clip of barely minutes-long gags and peppered with cameos from Henry Rollins and exec producer Spike Jonze, this piece of outré performance art defies typical movie conventions (the aforementioned no plot, no script, no resolution, etc.), but that shouldn't surprise, or even disappoint, anyone lining up for a ticket. The query "can I have one for jackass the movie please?" sort of implies you know what you're getting yourself into. All told, either you get it or you don't. Film critics and senators with election prospects don't. Kids in the mood to laugh at stupid shit for 87 minutes do. I'll toss my hat in the latter ring with glee.