Jackass: Number Two
Directed by Jeff Tremaine. Starring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Ryan Dunn, Ehren McGhehey, Jason Acuna, Dave England. (2006, R, 95 min.)
REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Sept. 22, 2006
If you had thoughts of celebrating the arrival of autumn by attaching a leech to your eyeball or detonating a landmine near your person – just to see what would happen – the guys from Jackass want to save you the trouble. In their new film, a sequel to 2002 sleeper Jackass: The Movie, Knoxville, Margera, Steve-O, and their band of thrill-seeking merry men continue their quest to create entertainment out of self-immolation and to conquer lingering human fear by laughing, and occasionally vomiting, in its face. The troupe enters the film on a perfectly pitched note of comedy and daredevilry: running in slow motion out of a dense fog – to the heroic strains of Ennio Morricone, no less – trailing a herd of angry bulls as they go. And this is one of the film's saner moments. You may know someone who ran with the bulls in Pamplona, but I imagine you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who's contemplated putting a fishhook through his cheek and diving into the ocean to pass himself off as shark bait. Jackass: Number Two is essentially a collection of absurdist, socially transgressive living-art pieces, and, taken together, they strike right at the heart of what moviegoing should be about: shared experience – of fear, humor, dread, disgust, pity, wonder – and the often unbearable thrill and agony of collective anticipation. I've never been in a theatre where the audience's reaction to what they were seeing onscreen was so unanimous and so unfiltered. Sure, the movie is long, at an hour and a half, but that's just quibbling. Strange as it might be to say, Jackass: Number Two is just the kind of vicarious excitement for which the movies were invented.