Hi. I’m Clint, and this is the Jackass Forever review.
It’s been over a decade since this crew graced our silver screens. There’s nothing quite like these films – equal parts Cronenbergian body horror and Apatow gross-out comedy on steroids, they sometimes play more like a documentary about a group of men that have declared war on the male genitalia than the hangout comedies that they are. Critical analysis over the years has tried to view the series through the lens of near-apocalyptic ennui, homoerotic camaraderie, body positivity, and even torture porn.
The creative team has decided that the answer to all questions MIGHT be a resounding “yes,” but that it doesn’t matter because the real meaning behind it all truly is the friends you made along the way.
There’s a wild amount of artistry applied to a film that opens with Chris Pontius’s dick stomping through a metropolitan area, a flaccid kaiju controlled via strings by none other than Spike Jones, and this is the kindest treatment of a dick throughout the entire film (one particularly stunning stunt involving a queen bee remains the funniest thing I’ve seen onscreen in years). It’s a fun opening, full of exciting stunts and disgusting payoffs that left my whole audience cheering. These big openers have always been an important thing that separates the films from the television show, but it’s also a prime moment for the crew to embrace hitting the apex of their art form while acknowledging their age and mortality.
Death really does seem to be looming around every corner in Jackass Forever. The grim specter has been coming for this crew for quite some time, but now they seem poignantly aware of it. Gags like tapdancing barefoot on an electrified floor or dumping five gallons of pig cum on your buddy are fine, but when one performer is tied down in a graveyard (meat stuffed in his tighty-whities) and offered to a live vulture while his friends cackle and taunt in death’s-head paint…things get more real. Gone are the days when this crew pushed to the edge of death and dismemberment, instead pushing as far as their sober comfort will allow them and then tapping out. No one shames, no one mocks, they just have a good time until it’s right about to go too far.
That’s the vibe this time around. Knoxville is sporting his silver hair and makes no bones about how much the gang has aged. They’re joined by a younger crew this time (Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Zach Holmes, and Compston “Darkshark” Wilson), and the energy feels closer to a fraternity initiation than a traditional Jackass film. The newcomers are hazed beyond belief, but they take it in stride and push their own bodies as far as they can (though the crew seems to not be completely certain what to do with Rachel Wolfson as she has no dick to destroy). The old guard gets as good as they give, taking as many shots to the dick as there are stars in the sky and allowing animals to abuse them in a stunning reversal of the modern pecking order, but it never loses its sentimental feel when the cast is all hanging out. This isn’t a passing of the torch, but rather an acknowledgment from the crew that their fans want in on the game and that they can’t keep doing this forever.
I’m a sucker for the “getting the band back together” film, and Jackass Forever feels as perfect in that regard as it is insane. It’s odd to say that we all strive for the level of love and comfort these jackasses feel for one another, but everything gets very moving when you watch just how much they truly care for one another. At those moments the artifice is stripped back, leaving us with nothing more than a group of self-abusing dinguses that are having an absolute blast together. These films have changed over the years, with some of the crew coming and going (R.I.P. to Ryan Dunn and we hope that one day Bam Margera gets the help he needs), but the underlying magic to everything these guys do together has always been the real friendship that’s displayed at every shining moment. Jackass Forever is such a magical film, and it’s one I hope you all take the time to see (provided you’re comfortable with mayhem, destruction, and enough shots to the dick that I wonder if any of them work anymore).
Jackass Forever is currently playing in theatres.