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"JACKASS THE MOVIE"
(2002) (Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O) (R)

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QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A no holds barred, big screen version of the outrageous and masochistic MTV stunt show.
PLOT:
Johnny Knoxville, and his band of daredevil performers including Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Dave England and others perform a variety of extreme stunts and other gags in this big screen version of the outrageous and masochistic MTV stunt show.
OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Long ago on TV's "Saturday Night Live," Gilda Radner played a TV commentator named Roseanne Roseannaddanna who'd tell stories that often started with "Did you ever...?" and would end with some graphic description of some gross discovery. Years later, Billy Crystal's construction worker, Willie the Masochist, would describe some sort of outrageous accident or self-inflicted injury and then nonchalantly say, "I hate it when that happens."

I don't think the performers in "Jackass the Movie" hate what happens to them (in fact, quite the opposite appears to be true). Nevertheless, the spirit of "SNL" seems to be some sort of impetus for what occurs in this effort that's less a movie than just a collection of outrageous, gross and off the wall stunts and gags.

In fact, this "movie" - based on the MTV show "Jackass" that debuted in 2000 and basically has the same format - is more akin to one of those "too hot for TV" straight to video releases that are advertised on late-night programs and usually feature young and inebriated women flashing their (blurred out) bare breasts.

For this effort, however, there's no blurring and men's bare buns replace the breasts in what would more accurately be described as "Too Gross/Dumb/Harebrained/Insert Your Best Derogatory Adjective Here for TV."

Yes, the gang from the TV show has now "graduated" to the big screen where their unique brand and style of painful and gross humor has been given the no holds barred treatment. There's no plot or script, minimal direction and no acting as we're treated to 80 some minutes of one short segment after another.

Framed by a warning aimed at the impressionable -- not to try anything they see in the film at home since the stunts performed in the film were done by "professionals" (as if that's really going to deter anyone and is there a guild for such workers) -- the movie then proceeds to show a menagerie of stereotypical college frat boy humor that makes the likes of "Animal House" seem like "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" in comparison.

Performing the sort of stunts that would make health and life insurance agents cringe and personal injury lawyers grin, ringmaster Johnny Knoxville (who appeared in "Men in Black II") leads his merry men on a global journey of seeing what sort of wacky, outrageous and disgusting sort of stunts, gags and pranks they can conceive and then pull off without getting arrested (or seriously maimed or killed).

In essence, this is akin to The Three Stooges meet The Farrelly Brothers but taken down about a dozen notches or so in terms of intelligence, creativity or imagination. Sure, they come up with some stunts that nearly defy description (at least in polite company). Yet, the abundant gross out material (including, but not limited to eating urine soaked snow, defecating in a non-working, store display toilet and putting various things in a certain part of the body not designed for such use) far outweighs the few decent laughs that are to be had (and yes, there actually are a few of the guilty pleasure variety).

Of course, the closer one is to the 14 to 18 age range and the more testosterone there is flowing through one's veins, the more likely the material will come off as amusing, funny or even wince-inducing hilarious. There's no denying the film has a certain target audience and fans of the TV show will probably love the "artistic" liberation that the R rating has afforded the performers and their work.

Simply put, if the most idiotic, crude, gross and dangerous stunts and gags you can imagine anyone inflicting upon themselves or others makes you laugh, then this film might be right up your alley. Otherwise, you'd probably be wise to give this offering a wide berth lest you be splattered by the abundant muck and overall inanity.

"Jackass the Movie" rates as a 2 out of 10 simply for making me laugh a few times (although I'll hate myself in the morning for it), which is more than I can say for some "real" comedies that have come equipped with "real" scripts and supposedly funny actors.




Reviewed October 24, 2002 / Posted October 25, 2002


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