Jackass Preview.

The MTV phenomenon comes to the big screen (and now DVD/Video). The difference between the show and the movie? They don’t bleep the curse words and the stunts are even crazier. But what were you expecting, Shakespeare? flmGEEk rates the blood, puke, and panda bears.

There are three separate warnings at the beginning of Jackass. All three say essentially the same thing, ‘Don’t try this at home because you will not win the lawsuit.’ Personally I wish they hadn’t bothered, because anybody who launches a bottle rocket out of their nether regions deserves what they get. Darwin had a term for it, Natural Selection.

How do you review a movie like this? There is no plot, and the only real drama is whether or not the crazy kids will stand up. It’s a bunch of ex-stuntmen doing the stupidest things they can think of for comedic effect. Is it funny? Sometimes. Is it crazy? Most of the time. Is it outrageous? Most definitely.

Two things allow Jackass to be amusing rather than offensive. First of all, these guys only hurt themselves. There could have been another disclaimer reading; "No sane person was harmed during the making of this film. Second, crazy as the stunts are some of them (and I emphasize some) are truly hilarious. The opener features lead Jackass Johnny Knoxville renting a car, declining the insurance, and then entering it in a crash up derby. The funny part comes when he returns the car to the rental agency and insists the agency split the cost of repair.

The lengths to which these guys will go for a laugh are almost unimaginable. Fan favorite Steve-O gets two tattoos for the film. Which one is worse, the happy face administered in the back of a Hummer during a segment called "Offroad Tattooing," or the mural Steve-O gets of himself that covers his ENTIRE BACK. Yes, your choices here are a horrifically painful tat or a horrifically stupid tat. These guys may be out for a quick buck, but they’re leaving lasting marks.

All the usual antics are here. Wee-Man kicks himself in the head, papercuts are intentionally given between toes and fingers, crocodiles are taunted and golf carts are crashed. Men in panda suits are good for a laugh, and I can honestly say that a toilet has never been so amusing in film. Of course Party Guy is along for the ride and Bam Margera is still torturing his parents. Many of the best bits from the show are taken to Japan (where much of the movie was shot), and they still work, often even better than they did in the states.

I had feared the appeal of Jackass laid in small (half hour) quantities, but Knoxville and his band of blathering, attention deprived idiots manage to keep things interesting for the majority of the flick. And maybe it is the influence of Executive Producer Spike Jonze (the director of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation was the biggest early supporter of the crew, bringing them to MTV) but the guys seem to realize the irony of what they are doing. The closing credits sequence repeats the opening credits, but this time it features all the characters in elderly makeup, walking with canes and walkers. Not only is it funny but knowing. Using the word ‘pleasant’ to describe a film where a man defecates on himself for a laugh seems a little off; so let’s say I was disgustingly surprised.

flmGEEk


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