Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Jason Acuna
Sean Cliver, Preston Lacy
|Hmm. Okay, I'm still alive.
My name is Richard. I am in Indianapolis. Today is September 19, 2006.
Okay, good. I'm oriented x 3. I guess that means my mental status is okay.
I can't figure it out. I'm dumbfounded...shocked, amazed, stupefied...did I mention amazed?
I rated "Jackass: The Movie" a solid "F" for its complete lack of entertainment value, poor sense of social responsibility and general dumbing down of an already mind-numbingly simple American culture. It rests comfortably in my "Bottom 50" films of all-time.
I don't regret it...not for a minute.
So, what happened here? No, I'm serious. What happened here? Somebody, tell me. Please.
"Jackass: Number Two" is more of the same from the gang that brought us the "Jackass" television series and the first "Jackass" film. We have Johnny Knoxville giving the finger to his semblance of movie fame, Steve-O doing more of what he's always done, Bam Margera giving even more evidence of a few dozen brain cells missing and the rest of the gang doing their part in stunt after stunt that defies just about every movie convention known to cinema to come up with laughs, shocks, gags, stupidity, dares, stunts and goings on that make those silly little food stunts on "Fear Factor" look like an afternoon in the park with Mr. Rogers.
What's up with me? I'm older and more conservative than I was five years ago. Yet, I can't deny the truth. This crude, off-color and downright offensive feature film version of a stag party, bachelor party, drunken brawl, frat party and macho movie madness was often downright funny, frequently gag-inducing gross and tasteless in just the right ways.
I have this certain friend who just loves to remind me of our college days. Every time we get together, he reminds me of the countless times I would crawl up to his second floor apartment and stumble out hours later drunk beyond words, convinced I could walk and finding myself rolling like a gymnast down the flight of stairs.
I didn't do this just once. I did this at least once a week throughout my college days.
Now that I'm older, a college graduate and, yes, a minister he just loves to remind me of those days.
"Jackass: Number Two" is like those days. It requires no intelligence to view, no insight to understand, no effort to follow and will leave you laughing even if you can't figure out what is so funny.
It's rather funny to me that "Jackass: Number Two" and "Jesus Camp" have come out within a week of each other. I find it a sad statement on American culture and intelligence that kids can watch both and decide to imitate the adults in the films.
Is "Jesus Camp" the fundamentalist version of "Jackass: Number Two" or is "Jackass: Number Two" the progressive version of "Jesus Camp?"
Seriously, think about it.
There's no need to describe a plot. Much like the first film, there is no plot in "Jackass: Number Two." Unlike the first film, however, this film seems a tad less irresponsible and, for lack of better phrase, less cruel to anyone but those who are willingly participating. While there is one skit involving a "Bad Grandpa," it is the only scene involving a child that borders on irresponsible. Even it is no worse than was seen weekly on Comedy Central's "The Man Show."
"Jackass: Number Two" is centered squarely upon this motley crew of devious daredevils and their constant efforts to outdo, double-dare and scare the crap (sometimes literally!) out of each other.
We have bobbing for Anacondas, Bam Margera's frightening encounter with a Pit Viper, Running with the Bulls, exploding rockets, masturbating horses, spouse-swapping, body slamming and a variety of other stunts. If you're even remotely familiar with "Jackass", then you're not going to this film for new enlightenment...you're going for the same old gang doing the same old stuff and having a heck of a lot of fun doing it.
Along the way, we get a few "B" and "C" list celebrity participants ranging from NFL star Jason Taylor to hunkish "Murderball" quad rugby star Mark Zupan to Rip Torn, Jay Chandrasekhar and a host of others. As a paraplegic, I must admit a bit of envy over Zupan's being rocketed off a pier in his wheelchair. I mean, really, he's a quad...what else can happen to him?
Finally, too, we get a group with the balls to actually make fun of the war on terrorism with a spot-on hilarious gag involving two potential terrorists and their Indian cab driver (Chandrasekhar). The bit is introduced as the best in the film...the introduction is correct.
The challenge with any show or film constructed in such an episodic nature is that, almost inevitably, certain episodes fail. The same is true here, most notably a musical segment towards the end that features a variety of closing stunts set to a Broadway show tune. It feels awkward and out of place in a film that has celebrated tastelessness and irreverence for the previous 90 minutes. Likewise, director Spike Jonze is here in an initially funny bit that gets a tad repetitive by the end of the film.
Something has changed.
Either this film is different, I am different or the gang just got me in the right space to view the film. I think it's a balance of all these things and the addition of one simple factor..."Jackass: Number Two" focuses a bit more on entertainment and a bit less on shock value. The end result is a film that is constantly offensive, tasteless and awfully funny.
Remember Dave Chappelle's "Block Party?" It was a celebration of community, friendship and just a really good vibe, good time film.
"Jackass: Number Two" is nothing like that.
Okay, actually it is. "Jackass: Number Two" is like a bunch of grown-up, slightly wealthier drunken frat brothers getting together and throwing one huge toga party with pit vipers, bulls, anacondas, quadriplegics, nudity (male), beer and weapons.
Great movie? Not in the least, but who cares? "Jackass: Number Two" is a bunch of great friends getting together to have one more great time.
Just remember...no petting your anaconda during the film.
|© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic