Jackass: The Movie Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/28/2002
I have to say right off the bat that I was never a fan of MTV’s “Jackass.” I thought it was stupid and moronic. To me, it looked like the videos of happy accidents sent into ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” only they were done on purpose and not for a cash prize. I couldn’t understand why they would voluntarily do these stunts.
I guess I was never the type of kid growing up to do stunts on my bike or hold my hand over a flame. I don’t see the appeal of pain, or the humor in it. In Jackass: The Movie, I found myself turning my head away in disgust several times. Gross movies I can handle (see my review of Ghost Ship), but I always know the gross things I am seeing are fake special effects. In this movie, the gross things are real, and what’s worse, they are done voluntarily!
In case you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is Jackass, let me get you caught up. The TV show premiered on MTV in 2000. It was hosted by a guy named Johnny Knoxville, who, along with his group of weird friends, would do dangerous and stupid stunts. A lot of these stunts involved crashing some vehicular thing (skateboard, supermarket cart, golf cart, etc.) into things and destroying them. His friends included Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Chris “Party Boy” Pontius, Preston Lacy, and Dave England. They were all guys who had met through their involvement in a skateboarding magazine called Big Brother. After they did a video called the “Boob Video,” MTV became interested in making a show involving the stupid stunts they did. It became an instant hit right out of the gate. Soon some stupid kids were imitating the stunts or trying to do similar stunts and sending their tapes of them into the show, hoping that they will be on a future episode. A few of those dumb kids were seriously injured in the process, leading former Democratic Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman to start a campaign to get the show taken off the air. The show had been airing warnings before and after the episodes (and it was given a TV-MA rating), but Lieberman didn’t think this was enough. He wanted it either cancelled or moved to a late hour. MTV did neither, but did step up the warnings, putting them not only at the beginning and end, but coming out of and going into commercial breaks. Eventually they stopped promoting the show, which led to Knoxville resigning out of frustration. Not long after that, MTV cancelled the show. It came back in a series of specials, and now we have the movie. There…you are caught up.
Let me clear up one thing I have been asked several times about the movie. This is not just material created for MTV that was “too hot for TV.” This is all new stuff that the Jackass crew knew would never go on the network. Since I try to keep this site fairly within the boundaries of good taste, I will spare you the descriptions of the scenes that made me squirm, but let’s say they involve paper cuts and a toy car.
There were occasions I found myself chuckling. There is a segment on a golf course where they blow an air horn while a golfer is trying to tee off that I thought was funny. Other than that, I couldn’t understand why the crowd was laughing at a bunch of idiots willingly hurting themselves.
I think the only people who will like this movie are people who liked the show, but Jackass: The Movie is one of the most disturbing things I have seen on film since last year’s Tom Green disaster Freddie Got Fingered. Is it a coincidence that Green is a product of MTV as well?
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