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I can’t help it. I’ve always been a fan of “Jackass”, whether it’s the MTV show or the films. During high school, my AP U.S. History classmates and I used to sneak over to the class computers and view injury videos back before “Jackass”, YouTube or any social networking was popular. Perhaps it’s because of my past or that I’ve lived with five to six other guys for the last five years, and we collectively crave inspiration for the next prank — or more simply put, it’s hysterical to watch people do things I’m too afraid to do. Regardless, “Jackass 3D” knows how to keep the franchise alive for another disgusting chapter.
There’s no plotline here, just the latest gags that our charismatic host and co-creator, Johnny Knoxville, thinks up with his gang of misfits: Steve-O (the craziest of the bunch); Bam Margara (the former skater with a knack for annoying his mom and stepfather); Chris Pontius (the party boy who gets his kicks from running around in a Speedo); Jason Acuña (also known as Wee Man); Ryan Dunn (the likable guy with the big red beard); Preston Lacy (the big guy); Dave England (former pro snowboarder and fan of eating things others wouldn’t dare); and Ehren McGhehey (who’s always losing a tooth). Jeff Tremaine, co-creator of “Jackass”, returns as director for the third time, even getting in a few onscreen moments as well. We even have a few cameos from third co-creator and film director, Spike Jonze (you might remember him from his killer dancing moves from the Fatboy Slim music video for “Praise You”, also directed by Jonze); pro skater, Tony Hawke, and actor, Sean William Scott.
“Jackass 3D” dishes out its usual blend of pranks, pain and vulgarity. If you’re looking for cinematic consistency, you don’t have to look any farther than this one, as it’s pretty much on par with its predecessors, keeping the laughs high and quality low.
We’ve got the familiar pranks that have survived the show and two prior films: Johnny Knoxville dressing up like an old man, more pranks on Bam’s parents, and exploiting Bam’s phobia of snakes. In the past, we had the “Pyscho” buzzer, where the camera would focus on a hair buzzer secretly approaching unsuspecting people’s hairdos. Our new reoccurring gag, the “Rocky”: a cup of water on one side of the face and a boxing glove smack on the other, all in slow motion.
There are definitely some head-turning moments…or should I call them cover-your-eyes moments. Get ready to see what happens when you tie a rope around a tooth, attach the rope to a car and start driving. Still painful but less awful, the gang also sets up behind a jet engine and practices dodging objects hurdling at them at high speeds.
“Jackass” and “Jackass Number Two” are stronger thematic films, but “3D” has some great moments, though it survives largely due to its visceral appeal. It doesn’t get any worse than Steve-O tied down in an outhouse attached to bungee chords (please don’t make me explain it any further). And don’t bother with the 3D for this one. Only the credit and ending scene jump out of the screen while you can actually leave the glasses off for the majority of the film.
Like most reality television, it’s hard not to watch something like this and both laugh at the crazy antics and feel a small sense of intellectual superiority over the film’s stars. These guys become the immature children we can’t be, but desperately want to be, due to more “adult” endeavors that consume our daily lives. The warning at the beginning of the film may warn us about the danger of the pranks, discouraging replication, but there’s still that evil little demon on my left shoulder begging me to do something stupid (or totally amazing).
I must say, the ending caught me off guard as the film took a break from convulsing gags for a rather nostalgic moment, implying that this just might be it for the world’s most immature 30-somethings. If it is over, then farewell my “Jackass”. You will be replaced with “fail” videos on YouTube, but it won’t be the same with the twisted community and clear results of far too many drunken stoopers. I don’t care how ridiculous this one is, “Jackass 3D” is just as much fun at its always been…unless, of course, you’re not a fan of this kind of humor, at which point avoid this one for the same reasons you steered clear of the past installments.
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