Jackass Forever, 2022.
Directed by Jeff Tremaine.
Starring Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Jason Acuña, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Zach Holmes, Sean McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Tory Belleci, Nick Merlino, Eric André, Francis Ngannou, Machine Gun Kelly, Tyler The Creator, and Spike Jonze.
Celebrating the joy of being back together with your best friends and a perfectly executed shot to the dingdong, the original Jackass crew return for another round of hilarious, wildly absurd, and often dangerous displays of comedy with a little help from some exciting new cast. Johnny and the team push the envelope even further in Jackass Forever.
It’s not far into Jackass Forever before masks are visible during skit preparation, and it also doesn’t take long before someone mentions how hard the world is right now. Even before this, it’s easy to suggest that fans of the series and stunt humor alike will have a blast, but perhaps more so considering the global health crisis rages on, and even with precautions in place for safe moviegoing experiences, distributors don’t seem optimistic or confident in releasing comedies. That is something Jackass Forever will, hopefully, make studios feel like jackasses for doubting and ignoring.
As Johnny Knoxville self-deprecatingly quips, it’s 20 years later, and the gang is still up to the same shit. If I had to describe any Jackass experience, I would have someone draw a flowchart that rotates stunts, dicks (in our exclusive interview, Johnny Knoxville described this particular entry as having “miles of cock”), vomit (something that gets a little extra messy this time around with masks), animals, and punches (not always from a human first). Then you transfer it into a Venn diagram for ultimate insanity.
Admittedly, not every gag is a hoot, although to be fair, every Jackass movie or episode of television has its highs and lows. There’s once again a sense that some more of this could have been left on the cutting room floor (especially considering the type of jokes quickly start to repeat themselves and become repetitive, not always come with absurd originality). A Jackass movie in 2022 (also supposedly the final entry from this original crew) crossing the 90-minute mark, let alone existing, could benefit from a few actual interviews from these goofballs about the show, their lives, and their friends rather than the occasional empty thought regarding the passage of time. Even the newer guests (of which for the first time there is a woman, albeit underutilized, making for a double-edged sword as you don’t necessarily want to see her hurt the same way as the idiotic male counterparts but do want stupidity inclusivity) don’t have much too add beyond brief remarks about growing up watching the show and how happy they are to be there.
When it’s over, there is no sense of finality or closure, which is strange for something intended to be the end of an era. It’s also forgivable considering both new and old characters are not phoning anything in here. For whatever reason (possibly a case of ageism on my behalf that I regretted five minutes into watching this), I assumed this would be less painful, gross, extreme, daring, and an overall more relieving shoot for everyone involved.
Then Steve-O let a swarm of bees sting his dick. You also get to see the grotesque, swollen aftermath.
As for the stunts and pranks themselves, the majority of them are new concepts (almost everyone here has a writing credit, although Jeff Tremaine is listed as the official director, per usual), but what’s pleasantly refreshing, in a likable approach to fan service, is that rather than trying to recapture former glory (if you can call any of this glory, that is) Jackass Forever sees the group taking advantage of bigger budgets to accomplish previously unsuccessful ideas (such as lighting a fart underwater and capturing it on camera). Other times, it is simply an excuse to make the gags more painful than ever before (wait until you see what they bring in a former UFC champion for) and mock their own low intelligence (a fourth grade level trivia game has hurtful consequences whenever someone gets a question wrong).
Of course, the best ideas are the ones that elicit dread building up to the punchline. It’s a compliment of the highest order to say that much of Jackass Forever is dangerous and highly reckless. It’s safe to say that everyone involved will want us to see them that way forever. In a vacuum, it may not be the kind of movie we need forever or every year, but it’s a damn good one for movie theaters and escapism right now.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com