Jackass Number 2

4 Stars

What a sad, depraved culture we live in. Man fishing. Fart masks. A puppet show, using the male’s fifth appendage as the puppet. But it’s just so funny.

This is normally the point in a movie review where a plot outline is given. But “Jackass Number 2” is without plot. Anyone familiar with the show and two subsequent films would know that there is no plot. It’s a series of hilariously painful, disgusting and grotesque stunts strung together. It’s not fiction. I don’t even know what to classify it as, because it’s not a documentary either. It just is. And what it is is funny.

I have this theory that the “Jackass” saga is in actuality the most brilliant concept known to the entertainment business. Since the invention of film, people have locked to the cinema, truly all forms of art, as a form of escapism. They watch the films on the screen as a departure from the daily drudgery of life, fantasizing that they’re Humphrey Bogart saying good-bye to a one time love in “Casablanca” or they’re Superman, zipping around Metropolis, saving lives. And the crux of my theory is that everyone wants to do stupid stuff. Every person has a secret desire to pull one stupid, insane stunt. I guarantee it. I’m not saying they should, in fact I warn against. But everyone has that desire to. And “Jackass” plays on that desire.

Relentlessly it plays on it. The viewer will run a full range of emotions. From laughing uproariously to nearly vomiting (and for the exceptionally squeamish, they probably will vomit). The most cringe worthy, for myself anyway, was Steve-O’s beer enema. The most hilarious was Bam, who is absolutely terrified of snakes, locked in a trailer with a king cobra. And the most sobering event in the film comes from Chris Pontius after a horse milking stunt when he earnestly proclaims how ashamed he is of himself.

Judging this film on the standard criteria is just impossible to do. They aren’t acting. There’s no script. Mise en scène is the last thing on director Jeff Tremaine’s mind when he’s trying to capture the running of the bulls. It’s shot documentary style. It really comes down to whether or not one can stomach and get joy out of watching a group of masochists cause intentional harm to themselves.

“Jackass” documenter Tremaine was able to consistently make us laugh. And he new exactly what direction to take the film in order to keep us guessing, and keep us right on the edge of our seats. The film started off tame (by “Jackass” standards, for whatever that’s worth), and as the film progressed, so did the extreme nature of the stunts. They would get progressively physical, progressively cringe worthy, progressively hilarious.

I there isn’t anything inherently wrong. It’s just good, wholesome fun. Minus the wholesome. Don’t take the family. Finish the popcorn early in case you need a basin in which to… do what some people have done after watching a stunt. Only see this if you can handle it. They put warnings at the start and end for a reason.

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