|Jackass: The Movie (2006)
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Preston Lacy, Spike Jonze, Ehren McGheyhey, Dave England
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Depending on whom you ask, “Jackass: The Movie” is either the funniest movie ever made or the first sign of the Apocalypse. This isn’t much middle ground. You’re either down with guys puking, mutilating themselves and breaking stuff, or you want them thrown in jail for corrupting the youth of America. I’m in the former group, though that’s not to say that there are things that I wish they’d quit doing.
Okay, let’s talk about the opening scene, which Bam Margera claims in the bonus features is the best intro in movie history. Shot on film, to the strains of “O Fortuna” (you’ll know it when you hear it), the group appears out of a cloud of smoke in a giant shopping cart, hurtling down a bridge. Then they’re bombarded by (fake) bricks, Johnny introduces the movie, and everyone in the cart is propelled into a fruit stand. It was all done as a joke, of course, a way to scare the “Jackass” faithful into thinking that the group had sold out when they went to the big screen. In the process, they made what might in fact be the best opening in movie history. Seriously.
You can break “Jackass” skits down into three categories: stunts, let’s-fuck-with-people scenes, and in-hole-out-hole jokes (Steve-O’s specialty). The stunt skits rule. There’s one involving golf carts that nearly decapitates Knoxville, and another where Margera is joined by skateboard legend Tony Hawk and BMX legend Matt Hoffman…all dressed in fat guy suits, and scored to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” natch. The fuck-with-people skits, on the other hand are a mixed bag. The recurring bits with Knoxville, Margera and Spike Jonze dressed up as old men are funny (especially when Knoxville, as an 80-year-old, is rapping Public Enemy’s “Sophisticated Bitch”), but the movie’s first skit, where Knoxville rents a car and then enters it in a smashup derby, just doesn’t work.
Which brings us to the litmus test of “Jackass,” the in-hole-out-hole jokes. How do you feel about someone snorting wasabi up his nose, then throwing up over everything in sight? No big deal? Okay, how about someone putting a bunch of snow in a cone, peeing on it, and then eating it? I thought so. It reminds me of the “South Park” episode when Jesus (why oh why did they get rid of the Jesus character?) tells Kenny that subjecting himself to all sorts of humiliating stunts for money makes him a prostitute. That’s the “Jackass” group’s dark secret: most of them are just prostitutes. Some for pain, some for laughs, some for the geek factor, but prostitutes just the same.
So yeah, I admit I’m sending mixed messages, because I’m condoning the movie about the prostitutes for pain, suffering, and poop, despite my objections that they stooped so low. Ah, screw it, if you’re gotten this far, it’s because you want to see this movie, so I’ll just go out and say it: see this movie. After all, Bam Margera shot it with a torn hamstring. You owe him, dude.DVD Review:
The “unrated” version of “Jackass” is absolutely stuffed with extras. There are two audio commentaries, one by Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine and director of photography Dimitry Elyashkevich (one of whom does a perfect impression of Steve-O) and another by the cast, which is surprisingly subdued. Along with outtakes and a “too hot for “MTV” segment, there are 27 minutes of additional footage, including “Seattle Skateboarding,” where the boys surf rain puddles. Top it off with the MTV short “The making of ‘Jackass: The Movie,’” this DVD is one for the library.