It’s business as usual for the ‘Jackass’ crew, who return to the big screen for their fourth cinematic outing. Starting way back in 2000, ‘Jackass’ the TV series was a seminal part of the American entertainment wave that captured the minds of an impressionable youth audience who demanded something different. One of the first reality shows to claim global recognition, ‘Jackass’ ran for 3 seasons on MTV and spawned numerous spin-off shows, whilst maintaining a sporadic cinematic presence. Not counting the mostly scripted ‘Jackass presents: Bad Grandpa’ in 2013, it’s been 12 years since we last saw Johnny Knoxville and his mates run riot, and ‘Jackass Forever’ certainly delivers a nostalgia kick (in the nuts) that harks back to a far simpler time.
It goes without saying that ‘Jackass Forever’ is clearly not for everyone. If you didn’t like the crazy antics that came before, then there’s absolutely nothing for you here. If on the other hand, you long to witness the sports cup challenge again, you’re curious to see if a scorpion sting in the lips can rival a botox jab or you’re curious if a rattlesnake will kiss you if coaxed, then ‘Jackass Forever’ will answer all of these questions more – in graphic, appallingly amusing detail.
Why anyone would want to do any of these tasks is far beyond my imagination, but thank God there are those willing to do these stupidest of stupid things just to raise a laugh. And that’s what ‘Jackass Forever’ is all about – a 90 minute laugh-fest that provides a lot of escapist fun and truly wince-worthy challenges that shock and occasionally disgust. But at the end of the day it’s all good-natured fun, and never malicious (even though I’d never in a million years attempt any of these tasks at hand) – I’m happy for them to do it all for my amusement instead.
Part of the joke here is that the original ‘Jackass’ guys, specifically Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Ehren McGhehey and Preston Lacy are all considerably older than before. And there’s something inherently funny about seeing these middle-aged men do such ridiculous things. But they’ve also brought along some friends, including a younger generation who grew up idolising their Jackass co-stars (a couple even have the Jackass logo tattooed on them). So this heady mix of youth and experience creates a fun set of challenges that keeps you enthralled.
There’s plenty to enjoy, with the cup challenge being a particular favourite to revisit. The ultimate wedgie, body surfing off a hill, a spider, scorpion, and snake attack, a bear attack whilst covered in honey and tied to a chair and being launched into orbit from a firing canon all bare the unmistakable hallmarks of the show’s signature set-pieces, but we get a lot more behind the scenes pranks too. This shows that you can never, ever rest on your laurels when you are hanging out with this group as you are under constant attack, even when you think the cameras aren’t rolling. Exploding toilets, being locked in a pitch black room with a snake and electrified seats – it must be nerve-shredding being their friend. I’d hate to see what they do to their enemies.
For all of the absurdity and carnage on offer, there is a remarkable level of heart thrown into this film too. A camaraderie that continues to endure, and friendships that have stood the test of time and remind the audience of the feel-good, turn-of-the-century pop culture movement. In a world full of angst and worry, it’s refreshing to see some casual reminders of how things used to be 22 years ago, and how life was so carefree and… well, fun. ‘Jackass Forever’s popularity stems directly from the fact that these friendships are genuine, and sometimes it’s just nice to revisit old mates. The slender 96min runtime does drag, but ultimately ‘Jackass Forever’ is a guilty pleasure that will raise more than a few smiles.
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Davon Wilson, Machine Gun Kelly, Tony Hawk, Tory Belleci, Jeff Tremaine Director: Jeff Tremaine Certificate: 18 Duration: 96 mins Released by: Paramount Release date: 4th February 2022