Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Danger Ehren
Film Review by Robert Stayte
Jackass, the MTV reality series, might not have as much value now that YouTube makes videos of people performing stunts or injuring themselves so easily accessible, but it and it’s 3 movies still work as both reflections of the insane things people are willing to do for entertainment and how entertaining the end result can be. Jackass Forever is the 4th film (the first in 12 years) and it continues that trend like it never stopped.
There’s no point doing a plot synopsis, like the other films in the series, the entire thing is a feature length series of scenes featuring Johnny Knoxville and team (which has typically been made up of Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Danger Ehren and Preston Lacy) trying to pull off large, risky, disgusting and overall humorous stunts. A couple of new members have been added.
Jackass Forever is definitely the most entertaining one since Jackass Number Two. From the beginning, which might be the most ambitious and well produced of the series, and all throughout, each of these situations and stunts gets a reaction (improved by seeing it with others) and the 96-minute runtime does not drag or let up at all. What also helps is that unlike the other films, there are only a couple of short sketches. Most of them are lengthy enough to have a proper setup and payoff. The filmmaking has never been a noteworthy aspect of the Jackass film series, but the editing is good enough to make you forget that there is not a narrative structure.
What is interesting to note is that this is the first film that acknowledges just how long this series has been going on for. Whether it be Steve-O directly mentioning that it’s been 20 years since they started, a couple of re-takes on former stunts or a flashback, there is a subtle sense that this group have aged and know that they’ve created history together. There is even footage of Knoxville being injured and having to be taken to a hospital, a reminder that these stunts don’t always go right. All of this as well as the fact that there are a few acknowledgments of the filming process make Jackass Forever surprisingly self-aware.
But largely Jackass Forever keeps being fun and these men are still like young friends who like messing with each other. The new additions to the group fit in nicely with Zach Holmes being the standout in terms of how he is used in these skits, though Steve-O and Knoxville steal the show with their energy and charisma. The film also has maybe the most well used celebrity cameos in any of the Jackass films, since they feel like they add to the scenes they’re in rather than just being random.
If there are any flaws, it is that there are one too many sequences involving testicular torture. Whilst each sequence is thankfully inspired and not outright the same, many of them do come down to that concept so there could have been more variety. Not to mention, the film does open with a few of it’s best moments, so it can feel like the rest is not as fun or shocking, but thankfully it still stays funny.
Jackass Forever is in many ways another Jackass movie, but it’s fun and gratifying to see the team continue doing what they are good at. It manages to be an entertaining return as well as a nice ode to their history. Fans will no doubt enjoy it, newcomers might want to prepare themselves for the insanity.