By Nicholas Porteous for Mr. Will Wong
The Jackasses are back, and for better or worse they haven’t changed one iota. Experiencing Jackass Forever is just like getting on a very long, rickety roller coaster from the past. I knew exactly what I was getting, I got it over and over, and I felt a little sick by the end. ‘It’ being painful slapstick stunts, every bodily fluid, and the contagious energy of adult children licking batteries, rendered on the largest scale possible.
The Movie opens with one of the most insane set pieces in the history of the series–literally blowing its load within minutes. Although it’s standard Jackass procedure to start big, I think the team may have set expectations too high. It’s rare that other stunts in the expectedly disjointed collection attempt to justify Forever‘s existence as a big screen presentation rather than just another hyperextended episode of the Series.
Despite the undeniable charm of the team, the quality of the stunts is a bit hodgepodge. Many made me scream, squirm and howl, while others made me wonder how they survived the final cut. There are at least a dozen variations on a ramp jump. A few scenes would benefit from more or less context than the Movie is willing to give. Some bits and bobs left for the credit crawl at the end could have easily been swapped into the main event to make for a better overall–ahem–package. As a whole, the stunt choices and their placement feel random. There’s no sense of momentum, raising the stakes or callbacks. And that’s Jackass. It’s meant to be an exploding outhouse of pure chaos. But I think on this fourth trip to the theatre, the team would have benefited from a bit more curation and innovation. There’s the occasional acknowledgement that they’re all much older now, but it still feels like an unexplored opportunity. The inclusion of Rachel Wolfson, the first female Jackass, is fascinating for how I process these torturous experiences differently when performed on or by a woman.
That said, this is still wall-to-wall madness and there is absolutely nothing else like it in theatres. Is Jackass Forever worth the price of admission? Absolutely. Just don’t expect it to rock your world more than any other movie that bears the legendary skull and crutches.