Jackass: The Movie (2002) — Stunts to bust a gut

“I’m not running anywhere with a toy car shoved up my butt.”

Clare’s rating: If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

Clare’s review: If you like Jackass the television series on MTV, you’ll like Jackass: The Movie. If you don’t like Jackass the television series on MTV, you won’t like Jackass: The Movie. If you’ve never seen Jackass the television series on MTV, I don’t know what to tell you.

Now that we’ve gotten that obligatorily boring bit of the review out of the way, let me get on to the heart of the matter. I worked really hard for a while to feel guilty about loving Jackass. I’d make up all sorts of explanations for my friends about why I was watching it in some stupid attempt to make it appear more sophisticated an admiration than it is. “I watch it as a sort of sociological observation on the ramifications of suburban living on our nation’s youth,” was a common excuse. But in the past year or so, I’ve settled quite happily into the realization that I don’t really give a crap what my love of Jackass makes other people think of me. It makes me laugh REALLY HARD every single time I see it and that, in my opinion, supercedes any vain desire I may have to appear more cultured than I actually am.

Jackass: The Movie is an 84-minute R-rated episode of the show without commercials. To me that means it’s a sure thing. And when I went to see it this past weekend with a packed to capacity crowd, everyone in attendance seemed to agree with me. I noticed about half way through the movie that I’d been smiling and/or laughing so steadily and for so long that if I wanted to make my face do anything but smile, my cheeks would quiver. So yeah, I’m a married woman in my late ’20s who apparently should feel horrifically ashamed of the fact that I find tremendous humor in watching grown men behave like 4th graders. But I don’t. And I won’t. So there.

I grew up on a farm. In the summer, before we discovered the “joys” of underage drinking, all the kids would basically do whatever we could to entertain ourselves. Sometimes that meant building huge hay bale forts which invariably came with gaps in construction that, if not avoided, would drop you 30 feet down into darkness and certain death by suffocation. Sometimes it meant having epic crab apple battles where the only rules of engagement were that if you hit someone else in the face they were given a free pass to hit you back from a distance of no less than 7 and no more than 8 feet away. One summer we all decided it would be fun to swing from one side of a barn to another from a rope tied to the ceiling. If you didn’t let go of the rope at exactly the right spot you had to choose between landing on the spiked conveyer belt that brought the hay into the barn or swinging out the barn window and falling one story below onto a concrete slab covered in cow crap. Sure we ended up with bruises, scrapes and occasional broken bones or concussions, but we also had more fun during those summers than any of us have ever had since.

So whenever I hear about how Jackass is responsible for our nation’s youth suddenly engaging in dangerous and stupid activities, I just roll my eyes and hope the next episode I watch is the one where Phil challenges Dunn to a foot race in order to get him to fall face first into the giant covered pit that Bam’s dug in the back yard.

Yes, Jackass: The Movie is gross. Don’t go see it if you have a problem watching other people throw up, crap on themselves, pee or, bleed. There’s also lots of naked-man ass, lots of swearing and lots of head injuries. So if you feel there is an inherent wrong with any of those things, you may want to avoid seeing this movie. Also, golfers get made fun of which could potentially offend some viewers with more delicate constitutions. And there’s skating. Which could cause viewers to become filled with angst. Oh, and there are fat people running which may cause audience members to flinch in horror.

Additionally, there are grown men dressed as pandas which may disturb viewers with issues related to man-sized pandas. And Henry Rollins makes an appearance, so viewers with psychologically negative associations with washed-up, former punk singers turned poet/spoken word artists turned TLC game show hosts may want to use caution. In addition, there are a sizable number of Japanese people in the film, so viewers who are still holding a grudge about WWII may be better served to stay home.

I read a review of Jackass: The Movie recently that likened it to being one step above a snuff film and the worst movie of this or any year. So if what I’ve said here isn’t testament enough of how much fun it is, take comfort in knowing that humorless windbags the world over hate this movie with a fiery passion and therefore, it is a masterpiece of untold splendor.

Kyle’s rating: I know I overuse the word “awesome.” But this is AWESOME!!!

Kyle’s review: I have an iron stomach, so seeing a guy poop in his pants and then somewhere else, and seeing blood and pus and less vomit than I was expecting but vomit nonetheless, didn’t really affect me too much.

But there were a few Jackass stunts that made me cringe. I don’t want to give anything away, not that this is an actual ‘movie’ so that ‘spoilers’ would be kind of an oxymoron here (yes, I see the ‘moron’ pun opportunities, but just fill them in yourselves, yeah? I’m pretty tired here), but let me say that paper cuts, sending electrical currents through the scrotum, and being shot with a high-velocity riot control bean bag bullet are high on my list of things that must be avoided. Oh, man.

I was never a huge Jackass fan. It seemed like episodes were only on at certain times and I never knew when they were and it didn’t really matter because it was more fun for friends and me to just say “Hey, this is Kyle and Chris and Steve and Jennifer and Natalie and THIS IS JACKASS!!!!” before we videotaped ourselves jumping off a roof into piles of snow or seeing who could get more air in riding our bikes into curbs and going flying over handlebars. That’s the fun of it all.

I will say that the episodes I did get to see were usually pretty funny. Sometimes in an awful way. As well, whenever they did a “Kenny Rogers’ Jackass” on Mad TV that was hilariously funny, and assuming I’ve got the money I’m totally going to pick up that Jackass DVD box set that’s supposed to be coming out soon. Yeah!

Anyway, this isn’t really a movie. It’s just a continuation of the television show. I think all the money went into music rights and special effects for the opening and closing sequences (not to be missed, by the way), and maybe in medical bills for Johnny Knoxville. The bean bag shooting thing was tough, but fighting Butterbean really ****ed his **** up. All for our entertainment. Thanks, Johnny!

If you can handle occasional barf and feces, and people doing not unspeakable but pretty wild thing to their bodies, you should check out the Jackass movie. It’s short, it’s fun, and like they said up there: watching it at a party or with friends will be an instant bonding experience. Total group fun; you will dig it! I know for a fact that I was missing out for never having seen a guy jump off a trampoline into a swinging bedroom ceiling fan. Oh, man, that’s good stuff!

Drew’s rating: Yeah, um… that’s why I only pierced my ears

Drew’s review: It used to be when you were in the mood for some amazing, death-defying stunts, you’d look no further than your local cinema. Wanted to jump out of a plane or outrun a boulder? Hey, your pals James Bond and Indiana Jones had you covered. But times change, my friends, and the advent of Xtreme sports has led thrillseekers to pursue life-threatening experiences in a much more direct fashion these days. Want to know what falling off a building is like? Strap on a bungee cord or go base jumping. Like the thought of being shot at and stalked through hostile terrain? Sounds like you need a couple rounds of paintball, buddy! Always wanted to pretend you were hanging off a cliff for dear life? Take up rock-climbing and do it for real. Hell, save up enough scratch and NASA will chauffeur you around in that pimpest of rides, the space shuttle… your chariot awaits, Mr. Timberlake.

But in the wake of all this, the inevitable question arises — with us regular folk acting like stuntmen, what can our ever-multiplying media outlets do to shock and entertain us? For that, a young group of moronic geniuses slammed their heads together and came up with the only logical answer: a series of completely illogical, incredibly painful acts of masochism. And God help us, we loved it… turns out there’s nothing quite like seeing a fellow human being in intense pain, just so long as they laugh about it and don’t actually die.

First came the TV show — I think every fan, diehard or casual, has their own story about losing their Jackass virginity; you walk away thinking my God, I’d heard so much about this, but I… I never imagined it’d be that intense. My own deflowering involved two separate stunts — one an eggnog-chugging contest where ‘nog was gulped down and almost immediately spewed back into the cup, repeated ad nauseum (no pun intended); the other featuring heavy objects being dropped onto a guy’s jock strap from three stories up. (Hint: sometimes they missed.) And when it was over, my TV held me close and we drifted off to sleep together. It was a magical night.

Ah, but once you’ve had a successful cult TV show and been blamed by the government for increased teenaged rebellion and foolhardy behavior and testicular dislocation, what is there left to do? Well, I suppose you could take all the leftovers, every crazy idea percolating inside your brain that was too audacious for freakin’ MTV, for God’s sake, and turn it into a feature film. And bless ’em for it, that’s exactly what the Jackass gang did. Not that the show was exactly restrained by comparison, but after watching the movie you’ll understand that there are some stunts that just couldn’t have been done in a PG-13 environment… I’m betting the yellow snowcone, for example, would’ve been a mighty hard sell to the network. And yet, it turns into one of the jaw-droppingly funniest sketches (subjective) in a seemingly never-ending mine of comedic gold, not to mix metaphors, so just sit back and count your lucky stars.

So what didn’t I like? Well, some of the material is invariably funnier than the rest. That’s to be expected in any random hodge-podge of stunts, but you’re going to wish they’d been a little more selective about what made the cut for the movie, especially after suffering through crap like party boy Japan or roller disco truck. (And if you don’t feel the need to fast-forward through night pandas, you’re a stronger person than me.) Also, I know I’m a big wuss, but I just can never watch the paper cuts… gah. And if you’re one of those uptight squares who’s uncomfortable with the idea of a certain private bodily area featuring in multiple stunts (no, not THAT one…), there’s at least two segments you’ll want to steer clear of. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

But all that is small beans when compared to the overwhelming truth — Jackass does what it does incredibly well, and what it does is making people who like low-brow humor laugh. Not just laugh, but cough and sputter and spray carbonated beverages out their noses. Yet aside from being idiotic and infantile (and just really friggin’ funny), the film actually does answer an important question: what’s a lunatic supposed to do in a world where everyone is crazy? Why, crank the insanity up to 11, natch, and that’s just what the Jackass crew has done. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s a darn amusing movie and can double as a litmus test for your friends — if you suggest watching it and they say anything to suggest they’re too smart/mature/sophisticated to find humor in such childish drivel, kick ’em in the crotch and run. It’s really for the best, and in case they should catch you and return the favor, hey, at least take comfort that they weren’t more mature than you after all.

You win either way… thanks, Johnny Knoxville!

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