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JACKASS

Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy

Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Written by: Johnny Knoxville
Produced by: Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

US: 25/10/02 UK: 28/02/03

There is NO plot as such. Instead we have Johnny Knoxville and his crew of crazies taking the concept of the MTV show "Jackass" - a bunch of guys doing dangerous and disturbing stunts just to see what happens. En route it turns into a movie, where they can get away with more than they could on TV, including a climactic stunt of immense insanity. Presumably you had to be there - or have a mental age of two and seven eigths.

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How do you even begin to review a film like this? It simply defies description--neither comedy nor documentary, and yet both of those words apply. It's basically just a bunch of guys thinking up the stupidest things they can possibly do. And then doing them. The format is the same as the TV show: video footage (often from a hidden camera) edited together in a random collage of sequences showing each ludicrous stunt. From the sublime (running around Tokyo in panda suits) to the ridiculous (antics with golf carts), scary (tightrope walking over a pool of crocodiles), stupid (a new way to shoot bottle rockets), painful (papercuts anyone?) and obscene (a deranged joke with a toy car). And there are many more where those came from.

Since the scenes are filmed in a chaotic attempt to just capture whatever these guys are up to, there are no production values at all, beyond the very tight editing and the terrific musical score of surf-skateboard music. Since there's no script at all (they make it up as they go), I can't talk about story coherence or character development. There is none. But I can say that the film is indeed quite funny ... in places. Almost every segment has the ability to make us laugh either at the inventiveness, the daring, the boneheaded stupidity, or with relief that no one died. Yes, it's far too much, aimless and unstructured, often deeply irresponsible and usually so vulgar that you'd better not have eaten before watching it. But there are sporadic moments of inspired hilarity that make it worthwhile ... as does the collective reaction from a full cinema, which is the only place this should ever be seen.

 


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