Released: 3rd February
Seen: 24th April
Some films are intellectual explorations that demand an in-depth analysis or an explanation of the political elements that make up the absolute insanity of the plot. Some films come with serious baggage that needs to be explored in depth. Some films come with enough baggage that they need some qualifiers or even warnings in order to properly prepare potential audiences for what is to come, positive or negative… and then there’s Jackass Forever, it’s a couple of dozen guys and a woman who find various ways to do bodily injury to each other for the entertainment of the masses and for that, we thank them because Jackass Forever is fucking hilarious.
Jackass Forever does not really deviate much from previous Jackass affairs, the formula works so why mess with it. Johnny Knoxville welcomes us to Jackass, an event where he, Steve-O, Chris Pontius. Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren, Preston Lacy, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Zach Holmes, Jasper Dolphin, Eric Manaka & Rachel Wolfson all take turns performing various stunts that will inevitably end in someone in pain while the entire gaggle of grown adults who made this film guffaw in laughter that becomes so infectious that the audience can’t help but join in. From simple and effective stunts like “Ride a bike right into a wall” to more elaborate things like “Tap dancing bare foot on a floor rigged to electrocute”, it’s a film chock full of painfully hilarious tableaus that somehow continue to be effective and original even 20 years after the first time this crew hit the screens.
If you wanted to, I suppose one could make a thoughtful intellectual analysis of Jackass Forever. One could explore the effects of Schadenfreude on a massive scale, how the act of watching people volunteer to take part in events that will inevitably cause them some form of injury for the sake of entertainment allows the audience to push aside their compassion and enjoy the thrill ride on offer. You could even suggest that this is just another form of the classic Carnival Geek who would hammer nails into their nose for the sake of shocking the paying guests… but fuck that, it’s just really, really funny when you see a grown man being repeatedly hit in the testicles. There is no grand meaning behind it, it’s just funny when people get hurt.
There is a kind of brilliance to how Jackass Forever approaches the simple idea of “It’s really funny when grown men are injured” in that they don’t go for something simple. Some of the sketches here are repeats of things they did on their old show, like the bull run or jumping into a wedgie but here they’ve levelled it up and made it more insane. Sure, watching one guy jump from a tree in order to give himself a wedgie is funny but what if two guys jumped from ledges to do that and their combined weight lifted a third guy up by his underwear? It’s stupid but, again, it’s really funny to the point where you will just be crying with laughter. Honestly, the most impressive thing is that we only see these lovable idiots being taken by ambulance to the hospital twice.
The addition of new people really does help keep things fresh, not just new members of the Jackass Forever team being a good way to give the older generation’s balls a chance to recover between stunts but also because it really does mean that this stupid little idea can live forever, there’s always going to be a set of balls that need to be hit with a hockey puck so why not get the next generation ready for it? It also just helps that the new guys absolutely slip in like they’ve always been part of the crew, going headfirst into the insanity and not being even a little bit afraid of what’s to come (OK maybe a few of them were so afraid they literally shit themselves but it’s OK, that’s funny too)
Jackass Forever really kind of exemplifies why this stupid little show about alleged professional stuntmen doing stupid shit has lasted so long, it’s so joyous and over the top that even when you’re watching the guys being taken away on stretchers you can’t help but still laugh at how completely committed they are to the bit. It’s hard not to laugh and wince in equal measure throughout this absolute insane movie that’s just good clean wholesome fun… OK maybe the pig cum wasn’t that clean but other than that!