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JACKASS NUMBER TWO

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Wee Man, Prestona Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey
Director:  Jeff Tremaine
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Paramount
Features:  See Review
Length:  93 Minutes
Release Date:  December 26, 2006

“Oh my GOD!!”

Film ***

Watching Jackass Number Two reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld in the documentary Comedian, which showed the top comic playing small clubs again to keep himself sharp.  “What am I doing here?” he ponders aloud at one point.  “I MADE it!”

Consider Johnny Knoxville:  he’s gone on to become a bona fide movie star, even taking or sharing top billing in movies like The Dukes of Hazzard or The Ringer.  Yet here he is again, doing what he does best, painfully, hilariously, and sometimes shockingly.  I would have wagered Knoxville would have never gone back to the type of stuff that used to get him nearly killed week after week on MTV’s Jackass.  But I guess you can take the jackass out of the man, but not vice versa.

In fact, his is not even a token appearance in this movie.  Whether it’s taking a hit from a bull full on, his curious misadventures as an old man, or letting a spray of riot-control pellets polka dot his body, Johnny Knoxville is no pretender.  Like on TV and in the first movie, these stunts are outrageous, over-the-top, mostly hilarious and more often than not, wince-inducing. 

But the rest of the gang is back, too.  Steve-O isn’t as prevalent in this movie as before, but you’ll never forget him putting a fish hook through his own cheek and using himself as bait for some sharks, or…are you seriously ready for this?…attaching a leech to his own eyeball.

Dave England has possibly the most hysterical segment, called “Fire Hose Rodeo”.  Watch that landing, Dave.  Poor Ehren McGhehey loses a tooth in the proceedings, but all things considered, he’s lucky he hasn’t lost more.  Bam Margera still makes life hell for his hapless parents, making him the poster child for why time-out doesn’t work.  Ryan Dunn takes a couple of rides in shopping carts that are propelled to unnatural speeds.  And Chris Pontius gets the proceedings started right, using himself as a sock puppet to entice a snake.  I feel like I should be more descriptive of that bit, but my conscience simply won’t allow it.

Wait til you see Wee Man launch himself with a parachute, or his escapades through India with the disproportionately big Preston Lacy.  Hilarious stuff.  Bam gets branded, to the dismay of his poor mother.  There’s a tire race that has to been seen to be believed, some extreme bicentennial bike riding, indoor skiing, and hunting for an anaconda in a giant ball pit.  Yikes.

And it wouldn’t be Jackass if it didn’t occasionally go way too far.  Did we really need to see a guy eating horse poo, or worse yet, watch a horse being ‘milked’ and someone taking a swig of it?  Not just no, but HELL no.

This DVD represents the unrated version, and one can easily amuse oneself trying to guess what parts were way to hot for the theatrical release.  Or maybe you’ll just enjoy watching guys play dodgeball with medicine balls in the dark.  Either way, it’s kind of fun.

One of the guys near the end begs aloud, “Please, God, don’t let there be a Jackass 3.”  Part of me agrees with that plea, part of me doesn’t.  But as long as these guys are willing to do the most vile, disgusting, envelope-pushing and life risking stunts for the entertainment of their audience, they deserve their fifteen minutes.  Maybe even sixteen just for the damned sock puppet show.

Video ***1/2

Unlike the first movie which was transferred directly from the video source, the second time around it appears to come from the video-to-film masters.  It looks pretty good, considering there are more than a few things you’d probably rather not be looking at.  The anamorphic transfer is striking enough to see Bam’s ass turn at least three or four shades of purple after getting branded.  What more could you ask for in a DVD?

Audio ****

This is a big, noisy soundtrack filled with great music and lots of action, and it serves the material well.  The 5.1 mix will keep you well centered in all the proceedings, even if you’d sometimes rather not be so up close and personal with it.  Lively, dynamic, and making strong use of all channels, this one is gonna be better than you thought.

Features ***

There is an outrageous commentary track by the Jackass gang to go along with an outrageous movie.  There is also a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes (kind of redundant, hmm?) and TV spots.

Summary:

What would the Romans have thought of Jackass?  These guys might have been willing to feed themselves to the lions for the sake of a crowd…but probably not before trying to have their way with one or more of them first.  God love them, God pity them, God look out for their crazy hides.

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