Growing up in the 2000s, ‘Jackass’ was a completely dysfunctional but endlessly entertaining part of my childhood.
Having a rag-tag bunch of guys complete painful and disgusting stunts managed to be a winning formula for the show’s cast.
The ‘Jackass’ television series ran for three seasons from 2000-2002, but the franchise kept itself relevant for many years after with a myriad of spinoff shows and a host of films.
While the series’ success continued for some time, the death of cast member Ryan Dunn in 2011 left the stars of the franchise reeling. The last ‘Jackass’ film to hit theaters featuring the full cast was ‘Jackass 3D’ in 2010.
Since then, lead cast member and show creator Johnny Knoxville starred in ‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’ independent from the other cast, but fans yearned for a film true to the original ‘Jackass’ premise.
Speculation about a fourth film featuring the remaining original cast has lingered for some time, so fans rejoiced when plans for a new ‘Jackass’ film were officially announced.
In ‘Jackass Forever’, Knoxville returns with Steve-O, Wee-Man, Chris Pontius and most of the remaining original cast.
Noticeably absent from the film is Bam Margera, original star of ‘Jackass’ and spinoff show ‘Viva La Bam’. Though initially slated to star in the film, Margera’s inability to remain sober while filming is allegedly what got him cut from the production.
Helping to fill the part left open by Margera are a new cast of characters including Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Zach Holmes, Jasper Dolphin and Rachel Wolfson.
While the idea of this new cast taking the reigns of the franchise is mentioned several times, the movie is not overly sentimental about the fact that this is likely the original cast’s last hurrah.
The film opens with a chaotic, apocalyptic scene of a city being overtaken by a Godzillaesque monster. When the camera finally pans to what is causing all this destruction, the culprit happens to be Pontius’ penis, painted green and adorned with tiny arms to convincingly play the role.
This ridiculous opening scene continues with the other cast members trying to find ways to evade and stop this terrifying beast, ultimately finding that the only respectable opponent for it is a snapping turtle which bites Pontius and thus saves the day.
The movie doesn’t deviate from the original ‘Jackass’ prototype, with many classic stunts being revisited including the port-a-potty catapult and Johnny Knoxville’s encounter with a bull. The latter of the two did not go as well the second time around, with Knoxville ending up with brain damage after being charged by the animal.
While this scene is a clear reminder that the ‘Jackass’ boys are aging, they don’t let that fact keep them from performing their usual crazy stunts, subjecting themselves to snake bites, scorpion stings and bees.
If it seems like I’m mentioning a lot of animals, that’s because there are many scenes involving them in one way or another. Besides what I’ve already mentioned, a bear, a vulture and a tarantula also make appearances in the film.
While the end credits assure that no animals were harmed during filming, the line is blurred as to if the potential for harm was there.
In the bear scene, cast member Ehren ‘Danger Ehren’ McGhehey is covered in honey and salmon before having a bear enter the room.
The bear investigates a terrified McGhehey while the crew remind him to remain calm and still. This is complicated by the fact that McGhehey is also hooked up to an electrocution device that Knoxville continually sets off.
The bear paws at the salmon and licks the honey until McGhehey gets spooked when the animal appears to want to bite at his hand, causing the bear’s handler to come in and abruptly end the scene.
Though the saying ‘all’s well that ends well’ may seem to be the most appropriate for a series like ‘Jackass’, it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened to the bear had things went south during the stunt.
The reason why ‘Jackass’ is so funny is the fact that the cast signs up to do the most raunchy and dangerous stunts. When an animal that can’t choose whether they want to participate finds themselves in these situations, it becomes less enjoyable.
Beyond my few qualms, though, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the movie. There’s nothing quite like laughing at a penis-Godzilla with a theater full of nostalgic fans.
While the verdict is out on if this will truly be the final installment of the ‘Jackass’ franchise, ‘Jackass Forever’ is still a much-needed comedic relief and a great throwback to the early 2000s.