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TBTS Reviews: Jackass 3-D

October 17, 2010

 

"Invisible man" Johnny Knoxville doesn't remain invisible for long.

 

Until yesterday, I had not seen a current iteration of digital 3-D. A couple of years ago, I saw something very near to it in the high-tech concert film U23D, but since the massive new iteration of digital 3-D launched by Avatar, which I never really had a great deal of desire to see, I hadn’t yet experienced what all the hubbub is about.

Now I realize that 3-D is for watching a man’s butt, painted to look like a volcano, erupt diarrhea upwards into the air.  Thank you, technology!

Let’s be honest with ourselves, if you’re reading this review and have never seen the television show Jackass or watched one of the prior Jackass movie sequels, you’re likely not going to go see Jackass 3-D. If you have, and enjoyed anything you’ve seen, you’re no doubt at least slightly interested in this third go-round, in which Johnny Knoxville and his band of fearless, death-wished stunt men subject themselves willingly to all kinds of painful experiments.

Three years after the made-for-MTV Jackass 2.5, a sequel itself to 2006 major-released Jackass Number Two (which grossed over $75 million in theaters), Jackass 3-D reunites the gang after three years of lying relatively low. Johnny Knoxville pops up from time to time in films, none of which have been particularly successful, circus act Steve-O has gone clean and sober over the past two years and Bam Margera has appeared periodically on MTV reality programming and in gossip columns concerning rocky relationships. By and large, it looked like their Jackass days may have been behind them.

And yet, if the last sequel had truly been their last, we may have never seen a man play a trumpet only with his farts. And Knoxville and company know they can’t deny us this.

While some of the stunts in Jackass are greater than others, you can’t fault the guys for not always turning out an interesting product. Notable setpieces involve a bungee-attached porta-john (full, of course), a very angry ram, a tetherball match using a beehive and an impromptu bar fight among dwarves (led by Jason “Wee Man” Acuna) which ends with little police showing up to make arrests and little paramedics arriving to cart off the injured. One thing you can always say about a Jackass film or television outing: it’s pretty damn hard to take your eyes away. And some of the stunts, particularly the film’s grand finale, seem like an incredible safety hazard on many levels.

As for the use of 3-D, kudos to MTV for actually ponying up the cash for true 3-D — this isn’t a “converted to 3-D” film, it’s full-on. That means full frontal male nudity (this sequel is especially heavy on the homoerotic undertones germane to the Jackass franchise), angry hornets, smoke, urine, vomit and — in one particularly creative sequence — a marital aid launched from a pipe gun directly into your face.

You have to hand it to these guys; they’ve elevated the art of exacting pain on one another into a true art, and there are small, near-missable moments of Jackass 3-D which denote a far greater attention to the creative process than the surface might reflect. And for your movie dollar, Jackass doesn’t skimp; there are very few moments of screen time wherein something terrible isn’t happening to someone else. These guys aren’t making a quick buck. Trust me, they’re earning it.

Again, if you’re not a Jackass person, there’s nothing I can say here that’s going to sway you to give Jackass 3-D a chance. But if you’re wondering if Jackass 3-D is another solid outing, you’ll be happy to know that while it probably ranks third in terms of the film’s sequels, it’s still well, well worth the time. In the end, after all, these guys are doing this for us. Because it sure as hell can’t be pleasant for them.

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  1. Steve-O: Death of a Jackass « The Brown Tweed Society

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