Dave England, Ehren McGhehey
- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Newman
t seems fitting that Beavis and Butthead would open the third installment of the "Jackass" franchise with pseudo-pedagogical instructions on how to use 3D glasses. Not because they're the cartoon version of the actual humans in the film (though they are at times), but that their creator, Mike Judge, also wrote and directed "Idiocracy," the film "Jackass 3D" most closely resembles. Whether that's a compliment or insult depends on both your threshold for pain and enjoyment of bodily harm. There's a reason all three films have been split virtually down the middle on Rotten Tomatoes.
To critically analyze "Jackass 3D" against the previous films or other films in the genre (are there any?) is an exercise in futility. There are nut shots. And costumes. And many things that look like they will be painful that turn out to be, in fact, exceedingly painful. But what might be overlooked among stunts like "Apple of My Ass" and "Sweatsuit Cocktail" is the sheer creativity required to conceive and execute the myriad stunts and pranks in the movie. Going further, whether you want to call it "performance art" is in the eye of the beholder, though the Museum of Modern Art doesn't screen any old movie in previews as they did with "Jackass" this week.
Hard to believe now, but when the original "Jackass" movie premiered in 2002, YouTube — and a million ensuing skateboarding and other wincing injuries available for viewing with one mouse click and a high pain tolerance — was three years away. That "Jackass 3D" can still inspire hysterical laughing long after society has been desensitized to human cartoon violence is a testament to the creators' creativity. I won't spoil any of the gags —anticipating what's going to happen is half the fun — but when you hear stunt names like "Bungee Boogie," "Lamborghini Tooth Pull" and, my personal favorite, "Beehive Tetherball," you can probably guess what's coming next (though it doesn't make it any less funny). Let's just say certain events make crew members puke. Multiple times.
At the screening I attended, "Jackass" regular Steve-O was asked how shooting in 3D changed the way the crew performed stunts. His response was blunt and telling: "We did nothing different." While not a distraction, the added dimension does nothing to accentuate the actual stunts, predicated more on the event itself and outsized personalities behind it then any camera gimmickry. (The D in "3D" apparently stands for "dildos" and "dicks," two things that I would prefer not be virtually flung in my face. But I guess that's Knoxville's point.) If anything, the real technological star of the film is the 1,000 frames per second cameras – aka super slo-mo – employed when certain members get punched in the face and increasing the wince-inducing factor exponentially.
It's doubtful that "Jackass 3D" will make believers out of those who denounced the crew's previous work, but that's not the point. Juvenile humor will always have its detractors. But as one cast member says after "Poo Cocktail Supreme" (don't ask), "It had danger. It had shit. It had puke. That's what this show's all about." Have truer words ever been spoken?
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of “Jackass 3D” may not actually be in 3D – although there is a version on the included DVD copy that can be watched with a pair of red-blue anaglyph glasses – but it does offer both a theatrical and unrated cut of the film (the latter of which runs five minutes longer) and nearly 90 minutes of special features. The making-of featurette covers everything from the origins of stunts like the Poo Cocktail and the use of the groundbreaking Phantom cameras, to the various on-set antics that took place during filming, while the deleted scenes and outtakes serve up additional behind-the-scenes footage from some of the alternate takes of certain stunts. There’s also the aforementioned DVD that also includes a digital copy.