Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

“Jackass” offers more of the same stupidity in 3-D


Bottom Line: It won’t be appealing to anyone aside from the already converted, but this new entry in the series will keep fans in stitches.

If there has ever been a worthier candidate for the 3-D treatment, then our culture is seriously in trouble. This movie has it all: flying excrement, flapping genitalia and just about every other idiotic and immature way of getting a laugh, all presented in glorious stop motion 3-D. If this type of treatment sounds excessive for a film series like Jackass, well, it is. But that is entirely the point of this movie and the whole series in general.

I think it’s safe to say most people are pretty familiar with the tried and true formula of “Jackass” by now, as they probably had to watch their friends imitate it in middle school. A visually nervous guy who is usually scantily clad endures some extremely painful, disgusting or just embarrassing trick much to the delight of his four giggling buddies who wait on the sidelines. Deriding this film series for being “stupid” is like criticizing Jackson Pollock paintings for being too “messy;” that’s the whole point.

And, boy, this movie sure is stupid. Some of the stunts and pranks involved in the film are so juvenile and bottom-of-the-barrel, it makes the first two films in the series look refined by comparison. But it is through this stupidity that we see how Johnny Knoxville and the gang tap into a type of absurdist humor that is almost brave in its willingness to buck conventions about what is appropriate for a mainstream comedy and for mass consumption by moviegoers in general.

“Brave” is most certainly a term that would apply to just about every member of the Jackass team, even more so for the intrepid crew that has to simultaneously film them and try to stomach them all at the same time.

Some of the funniest (or at least most interesting) scenes of these movies depict one of the cast members wanting to relent moments before he has to do something extremely painful. It is an almost uneasy reminder that these guys have the same amount of breakable bones that we have, and it adds to the tension in the air.

A good example of this in the film involves a cast member, scantily clad of course, visually trembling while playing a real life version of blindfolded “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” His buddies, who are usually there to convince him to do it and then add insult to injury once he’s done, laugh hysterically (as hard as the audience probably is), but know that the next scene could involve them performing something 10 times as gross or dangerous.

I can’t lie; there is some sort of sadistic pleasure in watching someone like Bam Margera, with his annoying mall-kid attire and attitude, get moved to tears out of his fear of snakes, which the fellow cast members fully exploit, of course.

That’s what makes this movie more interesting than, say, watching Evel Knievel jump over a row of buses. The sense of danger is more palpable because these guys react in ways that most of us would probably react after enduring such horrors.

That also might be the biggest drawback to the film as well. The sense of danger that was present in “Jackass 2” doesn’t seem as prevalent here. Maybe because we know no one died in making the movie, or that, after 10 years of doing this, these guys are finally starting to get old.

This is probably what has pushed the film into this far more scatological territory. It’s a cry of rebellion in which they are refusing to grow up or tone it down with age.

There is also a real sense that these guys care about each other as well, despite how much damage they inflict on each other. A montage of baby pictures of the cast and crew played over the end credits solidifies this point that these guys are like a family, one that has been brought together through extreme mental stress. Some kindred spirit celebrities like Spike Jonze and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy join in on the fun as well for some entertaining cameos.

It really is hard not to double over with laughter at some of these on-screen shenanigans, regardless of how you view the film’s idiotic nature or what implications it could have about our culture in general. When these guys hit their zenith, they provide some of the most outrageous forms of absurdist comedy you could ever want to see and a lot you wouldn’t.

When the film is at its worst, it’s still scarier than anything that would pop out at you in “Saw 3D.”

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