The rodeo clown is an important job in bull riding competitions. Their job is to distract the bull and help protect the rider from injury. They will taunt the bull while also entertaining the crowd with their outlandish antics. No matter how dangerous and unpredictable the situation is, the rodeo clown must do what they can to keep all the focus on them. In some ways that’s how I feel about the crew of Jackass. They provide ridiculous moments of chaos and self-harm as a distraction from the troubles of the world. They have a careless disregard for their own well-being and make absurdity a thing of beauty. Of course, they will encourage your gag reflex from time to time, but that’s the nature of their brand of comedy. Hardly anything is off-limits. The Jackass tv show ran for 3 seasons in the early 2000s and spawned a film franchise that lasted three films. After 2010 the gang went their separate ways and spawned solo projects. They clearly kept in touch because, against their better judgment, they decided another installment was in order. The world has only gotten crazier since we last saw them, and Johnny Knoxville is no spring chicken with Deadpool-healing properties anymore. So here’s hoping they were able to endure another series of death-defying mayhem for our viewing pleasure.
In Jackass Forever, directed once more by Jeff Tremaine, the old war-weary crew return to wreak havoc on their genitals and other extremities. They submit themselves to injury by way of blunt objects, animals, insects, projectiles, and electrical devices to name a few. There is also a fair amount of psychological torture for added fun. These men have known each other for more than 20 years, and they express their unwavering love by enduring kid-friendly debauchery in the most disgusting circus from hell. Age does not equate to wisdom and certainly doesn’t dull the senses, as evidenced by the groans and screams you’ll hear in each scene. Although it’s hard to say if that was the movie or the audience I was watching this with. Did you expect some coherent, thought-provoking narrative? Downton Abbey: A New Era comes out in May. Instead please subject your eyes and ears to these brief, disconnected segments of joy.
The original cast consists of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ehren McGhehey, Dave England, Wee Man, and Preston Lacy. New additions to the group are Eric André, Jasper Dolphin and his father Compston “Darkshark” Wilson, Zach Holmes, Eric Manaka, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, and Rachel Wolfson. Having a female presence in the franchise injected this boys club with some new energy. Especially given how much she reveled in the insanity. Scorpion kisses are no joke.
Everybody on set gets a healthy dose of pain and agony thrown their way, but a few got more than their fair share on-screen. Zach Holmes and his larger-than-life frame took quite a beating. Steve-O gets pretty banged up. Knoxville definitely endured injuries that lasted well past the production of this film, but I’d say Ehren suffered the most. At least as far as what ended up in the finished product. And unlike the jovial laughter and smiles that followed certain pranks, Ehren did not seem to enjoy his scenes before, during, or after. I admire his dedication to his craft but do not envy him.
You would think after viewing hours and hours of this ridiculous behavior, I’d be desensitized and prepared for what’s to come. And yet somehow, even after four films, they still manage to surprise me. Worse yet is they make me excited to see what method of torture they’ve got coming up next. It’s juvenile I know, but the results are sometimes spectacularly in their execution. The room with the snake is probably my favorite bit. I hated the horse semen scene in Jackass Number Two and this movie has a prank that puts it to shame. I mean I’m ashamed for all involved.
If you are a huge fan of this bunch of weirdos, you will notice two absent gentlemen. Ryan Dunn, who passed away in 2011, and Bam Margera. Ryan died while driving under the influence. Bam suffered multiple bouts of alcohol abuse. His unpredictable and aggressive behavior over the years resulted in him being removed from the production. Since you can tell how close a family this group is, it is unfortunate to not be able to reunite everyone. Still, the new mix of characters makes this movie feel somewhat fresh, which is saying something considering how many bodily fluids we end up seeing. A lot of it is not human.
Jackass Forever is not a contemporary film in the slightest. It’s an extra-long episode of television; and if you aren’t into the crass humor and male nudity, you most likely will check out very quickly. Speaking of male nudity, can we applaud this film and its predecessors for the equal representation of uninhibited exhibitionism. Strange as that is to say because they do not put forth their most attractive displays of manhood. Medieval dungeons have more restraint than these guys. I’m being facetious of course. Knoxville and company know where to draw the line. They just happen to think there’s another line past that first line which hopefully still won’t result in death or dismemberment. And so far their luck hasn’t run out. That’s the success of a good stunt performer. Age has caught up to them, but not enough to make them back out. I honestly don’t know who to recommend this to. Sadists? Nostalgic MTV enthusiasts? ASMR for the depraved? I loved Bad Grandpa. I really like the Jackass franchise. So enjoy a good laugh. Just make sure you don’t eat right before going in. You’ve been warned.
About Jackass Forever
Synopsis: After 11 years, the Jackass crew is back for their final crusade.
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Jason Acuña, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Machine Gun Kelly, Eric André
Runtime: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes
Releases: February 4th, 2022 (USA)