Jackass Forever, the fourth movie in the MTV franchise, proves that these boys still have the right stuff. That stuff happens to be slapstick bits of getting smacked in the nuts, getting shouted out of cannons, and having all manner of animals nibble them. Maybe these don’t seem like the most impressive of talents but nobody does it better.
Even after two decades of pranks and stunts, Johnny Knoxville and his band of mischief-makers can still generate a smile. A laugh might be harder given the age and even repetition of the bits. That being said, it’s pleasing to see they haven’t lost touch with their MTV roots.
A Grand Spectacle
Every Jackass movie always has that one centerpiece sketch. It’s where the stunts are most incredible and the special effects rather impressive. For Jackass Forever, it’s the opening action scene of a giant monster attacking a city. The scene features explosions, poop, and a penis monster. Good stuff.
Per the Jackass formula, the camera always pulls back to showcase the behind-the-scenes aspects. That might’ve taken some out of the film. But when you watch as the camera pulls back on Chris Pontius and his painted member, there’s a low-brow charm to such a shot.
There are many more elaborate bits such as this. Johnny Knoxville will at one point attempt the flight of Icarus by soaring into the sky with wings after being shot out of a cannon. Another bit features the crew successfully lighting a far underwater with a massive explosion.
Does that last bit sound familiar? Didn’t the Jackass crew previously try to light their watery farts on fire in one of their other movies? Yep, and they admit as much.
You’ll find that a lot of old skits are revived for this film. Thankfully, it’s not just a nostalgic revival of the oldest gags. The gang actually tries some innovation with these golden oldies.
Take the cup test for example. During the Jackass TV series on MTV, they had a simple segment of getting punched in the groin while wearing a protective cup. This time, the punch is given by a heavyweight boxer with some wincing results.
The New Blood
Not only are there some new skits but even some new members. The Jackass team would have to expand. They’ve already had the unfortunate loss of the late Ryan Dunn and couldn’t convince Bam Margera to return without issue.
The latest additions to the cast are pretty stellar. Consider how one of the new members names himself Poopies and is eager to jump into the most disgusting and pain-inducing of gags. Rachel Wolfson is also a highlight as the first female Jackass member, willing to get stung by scorpions.
There’s a lot of pep and eagerness to these new Jackasses. I suppose they’d have to be for a generation who grew up with such entertainment. They’ve prepared themselves to take absurd stunts and pranks to the next level.
Keep in my mind these are only the additions to the central cast. You’ve also got some strong guest stars as well. Eric Andre is always fun and Tyler The Creator has some great reactions for a segment involving a piano and electric shocks.
How Funny Is Jackass Forever?
Judging a Jackass movie is different than judging a narrative comedy because, well, there is no narrative. It’s just an anthology of slapstick bits, akin to a variety vaudeville show. However, you can still judge it as a comedy in terms of whether or not it makes you laugh.
Perhaps it’s because previous Jackass movies have set the bar so high but I wasn’t laughing as much. I was still smiling throughout as it is still fun to watch these cackling stunt devils go for absurdity. Of course, some of their bits seem to repeat themselves.
The film even features side-by-side comparisons in the end credits to suggest how far they’ve come. On that level, it’s more nostalgic than it is funny. Still, it’s interesting to note how these jokesters have aged, flying in the face of their absurd speculation from the first Jackass movie.
Conclusion: Jackass Forever
If you loved the other Jackass movies, Jackass Forever will still bring you some joy. The laughter is infectious, the stunts are brilliantly over-the-top, and there’s a daring nature to the lowest of the low-brow. I must admit I still found myself pleased with the playfulness that such oddballs can find to muster with animal bites and penis punching.
However, one can’t help but feel that Jackass format is losing an ounce of its edge. Previous Jackass movies always had a sense of surprise for the subversion but less so this time around. Thankfully, there’s at least a new generation of Jackass members to carry on the torch-lit with a fart and deliver while being punched in the groin. Onward, brave new Jackasses!