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JACKASS: THE MOVIE
Unrated Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Preston Lacy, Ehren McGheyey
Director:  Jeff Tremaine
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Paramount
Features:  See Review
Length:  88 Minutes
Release Date:  September 5, 2006

“Which one of your brain cells told you to do that, and WHY?!”

Film ***

I don’t watch TV, so I’d never seen an episode of Jackass on MTV…but I’d certainly heard about it.  It was one of those shows that rode high on the crest of a big word-of-mouth wave, because it was the kind of show that people couldn’t see and not talk about.

With a cult following building, a big screen endeavor was probably inevitable.  Jackass: The Movie enjoyed box office success and turned (temporarily, at least) those crazy jackasses into film stars.  My buddy went to see it on opening day, and he described it to me in great detail.  He laughed.  I cringed.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I could only think that if a movie like that wasn’t one of the signs of the end of the world being near, it probably ought to be.

But seeing the film was probably inevitable for me.  As a critic, I can’t help but feel curious about the films people talk most about, even when it’s the kind of film that makes me weep for our generation.  I sat down to Jackass: The Movie figuring I knew exactly what to expect.  And I was right…except for one thing.

I laughed.  I laughed hard, loud, and often.

My big question going in was why would anybody pay to see a bunch of dumbass young punks doing gross and disgusting things, and moreover, frequently dangerous ones, with no regard for life or limb?  I got my answer.  Because their stunts are damned funny.  They go right for the basest form of humor and rise below it, but not laughing is just about impossible.

The film is just a serious of outrageous stunts and pranks, but right from the start, it hits the funny bone with a heavy mallet.  The opening bit has Johnny Knoxville renting a car from a typical company, then taking it into a demolition derby where it gets the ever-loving guts smashed out of it.  Then…he returns the car to the bewildered employees of the rental establishment!

And that’s just the beginning of what this stop-at-nothing troupe has to offer.  Over the course of the movie, you’ll see the guys partake in bungee-wedgie, a crawl across a floor covered with mousetraps, Steve-O snorting wasabi (yikes!), Bam Margera making life at home a living hell, a bang-up golf cart session, a yellow sno-cone (yes, it IS what you’re thinking, and yes, the guy DOES eat it), and more.  Some of the stunts are too gruesome to describe even with the most careful circumvention of word choices.  I will say, however, that the bit that made me most try to crawl between the cushions of my sofa and disappear was the paper cut one…and that’s all I’m going to say.

I haven’t yet mentioned that this movie is not for the squeamish…do I really have to at this point?  Still, for those with the right constitution, there’s enough lowbrow entertainment here for at least four Farrelly Brothers movies.  And just in case you didn't get enough in the theatres, this unrated version boasts four extra minutes of shocking hilarity.  I’m not exactly proud of the fact that I enjoyed this film, but to say I didn’t would be to lie.

Johnny Knoxville and company may have gotten their start underground as an outfit called CKY (Club Kill Yourself), but it might have been more appropriately named ATGF (Anything To Get Famous).  But I’ll give them credit…anyone who puts themselves through what these guys do probably deserves his fifteen minutes and then some.  These guys will make you laugh, or die trying.  One day, probably both.

BONUS TRIVIA:  A few other stars make appearances along the way.  Look for Rip Taylor, Henry Rollins, Spike Jonze and others as you watch!

Video **1/2

With the exception of a ludicrously overblown opening sequence, this movie was shot on video, and for DVD, it appears to have gotten a straight video to disc transfer without the film in between.  It looks perfectly fine given the medium’s limitations.  Lower lit scenes are a bit grainy and murky, but daylight bits are bright, colorful and clean.  Definitely good enough…for the subject, probably a little better than it had to be. 

Audio ****

Absolutely no complaints about the 5.1 audio…there is enough chaos and mayhem in this picture to put most big budget action flicks to shame!  Lots of crashing, body slamming, falls, and accidents galore…the busy surrounds will keep you right in the middle of the madness.  Maybe TOO close for comfort sometime.  Throw in some terrific rock songs here and there and you’ve got one lively and potent use of digital audio.

Features ****

This Unrated Special Collector’s Edition disc from Paramount is quite generous in the extras department, starting with TWO commentary tracks:  one with Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine and DP Dimitry Elyashkevich, the other with the full Jackass cast.  They’re both fun listens, though occasionally sparse…but there are probably at least a couple of bits where you’re gonna really want to hear what the guys had to say about them!

There’s 27 minutes of additional footage, outtakes (almost redundant, because the entire film feels like an outtake!), a making-of special, 9 "Too Hot for MTV" bits (many just as or more outrageous than the movie itself...wait til you see how Dave makes an omelet), and a teaser for Jackass Number Two, plus if you act quickly, a free ticket to see the sequel.  Not to mention plenty of chapter stops, so finding your favorite bit won’t be too hard!

Summary:

Jackass: The Movie…watch it at your own risk.  And don't try any of that stuff at home.

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