After one of Jackass Forever’s many scenes of severe penis trauma, the recipient of the damage, the infamous Steve-O, pulls his dick and balls out of his iconic thong to show off his bruised shaft. Everyone in the vicinity takes a peek as a matter of course, each doing a mix of laughter and empathetic ooooooofs to reward Steve-O for his bravery in the face of physical harm. It’s an island of child-like innocence in a sea of adult imagery, and it’s also the perfect microcosm for what Jackass is.
Steve-O mangles his peener not because it feels good (that’s more of a Chris Pontius thing), but because dick bruises are LEGENDARY. He does it because few else will, and because fans everywhere respect such lofty goals as intentional genital trauma in the name of shits and giggles. When he shows off his purple penis to his friends, he does so with pride, and when everyone lines up to take a look, they do it out of curiosity and respect. This is what Jackass is all about. These low-rent chuckleheads do the things they do because they know we’ll watch in awe. We all had that crazy friend who would do dangerous shit for our entertainment, and Jackass’s gift to the world is all the fun of that friend’s antics with none of the risk of guilt by association.
Back in 2010, Jackass 3D introduced the idea that the crew had gotten older, more fragile, and less willing to subject themselves to torment at the expense of their health (when these guys hit their 60s it’s gonna be hell). The film even ended with a “then and now” reel to drive the point home that the Jackasses have put in their time and can now take nice long ice bath. But here in 2022, where no franchise is ever truly finished, the guys have come back for one more round of insanity. All of your favorites are back, minus Bam, whose personal issues have kept him away this time around, and Ryan Dunn, whose untimely passing is paid a fitting homage by film’s end. The rest of the core Avengers are all here, and all seem to be holding up relatively well.
Buuuut the human body is imperfect, and time waits for no man, so some fresh blood has been inserted into the Jackass roster. While I was admittedly a touch hesitant to open my heart to a bunch of n00bs (whose inclusion heavily implies the falsity of the disclaimer that homemade Jackass tapes would be discarded by the producers), they all won me over with ease. Each of them fits into the group quite nicely while also bringing their own unique personality to the party. One of the new Jackasses, who goes simply by “Poopies”, is the dumbest motherfucker in the world, and it is glorious to watch him navigate the cutthroat arena of backyard stunts. Another, Jasper, brings his tough guy father into the mix noting that despite his gruff exterior, he’s deathly afraid of anything you wouldn’t typically see “in the hood.” Ya know, like gigantic spiders.
Rounding out the new recruits are Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, and Zach Holmes, each of whom have a unique look and personality to go along with their blatant disregard for self-preservation. But even with the new cast members, the classic team is not even remotely off the hook, each member submitting to some of the worst tortures endured to date. Their pranks are cruel and silly, their stunts brutal and imaginative, and their hair gray to the point that when any one of them takes a little bit too long to stand up, it’s scary. This is cinema.
The Jackass movies exist on a binary for me. With refreshingly little to go on by way of theme, plot, or politic, it always comes down to one question: is it funny?
Yes it is. Maniacally so.
As with every Jackass movie which came before, about midway through the parade of anarchic glee, I was hit with a bittersweet pang of “at some point this movie has to end and I don’t want it to.” Very very very few movies can trigger such a warm, innocent feeling, and the Jackass franchise has delivered on it every single time. Hopefully the streak continues as the brand develops, even if it’s time for the battered and broken original players to ride off into the sunset (likely in a shopping cart).
If you can see this in the theater with a crowd, please do. This type of pure, mischievous fun is exactly what so many of us could use right now, myself included.
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Written by way too many people to credit here, but I’m sure Miller High Life was involved
Starring the crew of Jackass and also a new guy named Poopies
Rated R, 96 minutes