Jackass Forever Review

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It was the weekend of October 25, 2002. Jackass: The Movie opened against Ghost Ship, a horror movie that Box Office Mojo predicted to open at #1. Ghost Ship had to settle for third place while Jackass surprised with the weekend’s best numbers, $22.8 million. Four years later, Jackass Number Two came out the same weekend as All the King’s Men, a remake of a Best Picture winner. Jackass not only topped the box office again, but its reviews were more positive than the Oscar bait movie starring Sean Penn and Kate Winslet. By the time Jackass 3D was released, its critical praise and financial success didn’t come as a shock.

Even then, who could’ve guessed that Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa would get a Best Makeup nomination? That same year, the franchise’s co-creator, Spike Jonze, won an Oscar for Her. Somehow, this Academy Award-nominated series keeps defying expectations. It may never be considered high-brow (nor should it be). Almost twenty years since the first film, though, we still remember the toy car stunt. How many people remember Ghost Ship or All the King’s Men? Jackass Forever is another memorable outing with more laughs than half of the scripted comedies from the past year. While the biggest gut-busters come in the first half, the second act still has more than enough chuckles spread out.

Jackass Forever opens on a high note (or at least a brown note) with a penis modeled after Godzilla attacking a city. Imagine the intro of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America if Maury the Hormone Monster directed it. As the ball sack stomps through a miniature city, it’s hard to say who to feel worse for, the people getting blown away in a hurricane of semen or the man behind the green-painted dick. Either way, Jackass understands the first rule of slapstick: the more pain someone’s in, the harder the audience will laugh.

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Of course, this franchise would’ve gotten old quickly if the slapstick was straightforward. The crew continues to push their creativity to the limit with stunts involving human ramps, cannons, and lots of animals. The funniest bit combines the common fear of snakes and the climax of Silence of the Lambs. I don’t know if Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, and the other Jackass vets expected to still be doing this well into their late 40s and early 50s. Yet, they can all still take a punch to the crotch like a pro.

Jackass Forever acknowledges that the cast is getting up there in years, even referencing Knoxville’s bald spot. The film also introduces several newcomers, such as Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Jasper Dolphin, and a man nicknamed Poopies. The standout is Zach Holmes, whose body was made for pain and comedy. The ensemble balances the senior and freshman classes well with everybody walking away with an appropriate number of scars. It’s just too bad that Phil and April Margera are nowhere to be found, as they always have the funniest reactions to the insanity. Given Bam Margera’s poor behavior lately, though, their absence is understandable.

Knoxville has claimed that this will be his last Jackass film and possibly a swan song for the series. The Forever in the title works on four levels, though. First, it’s a reference to this being the fourth main entry in the series (duh). Second, it’s a surprisingly touching nod to the late Ryan Dunn, who died less than a year after the third film’s release. Third, seeing grown men and women seriously injure themselves will always be hilarious. Finally, even if Knoxville can’t keep this franchise going forever, the next generation will in one way or another.

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About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

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