Eye For Film >> Movies >> Jackass 2 (2006) Film Review
Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald
Brutal, repulsive and occasionally very funny indeed - Jackass Number Two is pretty much what you expect. The easily offended should stop reading RIGHT now. The Jackass crew is a motley bunch: a handful of medium athletic Americans, one or two fat guys, and a dwarf. What they're willing to put their bodies through for the sake of idiocy and low comedy is astonishing. It delivers lots of moronic stunts and puts bodily fluids and mass where none should go. But hey, lowbrow audiences deserve entertainment too! Indeed, one of Johnny Knoxville's T-Shirts sums the movie up aptly. "Fuck art!... Let's Dance!" - a cheerful enough excuse for the ensuing debauchery and raging insanity. Anyway, thank the maker that Jackass is a likable crew, since otherwise I'd never forgive them when they go too far. (chugging on horse semen definitely lives in this category)
The format of the film is unique in its own right, a dissertation of pain which delivers five kinds of gags:
- Gross out bodily function gags - e.g. a particular 30-second sight gag involves dropping a big, squishy jobbie into a doll's house loo.
- Practical jokes - usually involving disguised air-rams or freaking out Bam Margera's mother.
- Unbelievably dim short stunts - which can often be far more guiltily funny than an elaborate scheme.
- An effort to enduce as much pain as possible by abusing their bodies - A firehose rodeo draws first blood in less than five minutes, and firing a non-lethal ground mortar does nothing funny, other than freaking out its audience with the bruises.
- Staged stunts - which usually fall flat, because they look that way. Witness the opening cattle stampede scene, with Ecstasy of Gold surging in the background.
Anyway, this presents this reviewer with a problem. I watched, I laughed, and I wrote in my little notebook - a choice excerpt being "I'M GOING TO HELL FOR LAUGHING AT THIS MOVIE!!!" Bottom line: how does one review comedies like this? I'll fall back off my high-horse a little and spoil a few more of the gags, and see if it's your bag. A huge, lardy guy is tethered to the aforementioned dwarf with a bungee cord. We see the original design faxed through; its sheer primitiveness got me guffawing from the offset. The stage is quickly set, the dwarf jumps, and he shoots back up, which causes the big guy to fall and yank the dwarf back down into the drink at high speed. It doesn't really work in words, does it?
Never mind; what Knoxville and company have in spades is the sheer chutzpah to dream up these stunts and actually pull them off. Rockets are attached to pretty much every movable object, including a willing paraplegic's wheelchair. Bad taste queen John Waters performs a dwarf disappearing trick - I must have lost about 30 IQ points, I was laughing so hard.
Spike Jonze and Knoxville dress up in hideously convincing old-age makeup, exposing themselves publically. I'll never forget the sight of doddery old Knoxville with a hickey-sack dangling far lower than it ought to, and the subsequent canine attention. Where the film ceases to be funny is where it pushes way past my empathetic pain or gruesome act limits, much as Ong-Bak was rendered damn near unwatchable by all the bone-crunching violence. Anyway, just when I was feeling worn out by the constant pain and moronicity, the film closed with a light musical number involving just as much pain as before, but with imaginative staging.
So, does Jackass 2 deliver the goods? It gave me a sum total of four large belly laughs, a couple of outright chuckles and a whole lot of burying my head in my hands in shock/distaste/pain. A star rating must insist I try to quantify this, which I'll do. The Producers (1967) and Borat get five stars for being very smart, clever and unrelentingly funny. Scary Movie 2 gets one star for being none of the above, this lands squarely in the middle with three. But star ratings are pointless when it comes to Jackass Number Two.
Just see it or don't, on principle - it's as critic-proof as movies can ever be.Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2006
If you like this, try:Natural Born Pranksters