My Enduring Love for Jackass

Hi I’m Mike and I’m a Jackass!


A great man once said, “it’s like poetry; it rhymes.” For twenty years, Jackass has been the pinnacle of sleazy cinematic entertainment, and God bless it for it. My unabashed love for Jackass burns an eternal flame of unapologetic beauty. The stunts of Jackass Forever mirror its routines of the past, with pain added to its aging cast. 

Johnny Knoxville and his gang have more wrinkles and white hair but don’t compromise on the damage they take. If “old man strength” is a reality, J.F. may have proven this theory true. The testicular torture the guys endure is almost admirable. I don’t care how many criticize the stars for being unintelligible delinquents. They’re dedicated to their dangerous craft to this day. As Roger Allan Wade’s song says, “If you’re gonna be dumb ya gotta be tough.” Indeed these Jackasses are. 

What’s the plot of Jackass? There is none. Jackass started as a collection of brief sketches attached to CKY. Unless you’re a skateboarding fanatic, I will skip a majority of CKY to get to the good parts. What became the television sensation of Jackass evolved into a movie which spawned sequels clones and surpassed the success of movies like Borat

Jackass is like a scientific experiment. Put the most disgusting, painful, puzzling stuff you can imagine on the screen, then see how the audience reacts. Will someone in the crowd vomit when viewing the fart mask? Will they grab their noses during the Wasabi Snooter? Jackass is vaudeville on crack. It’s like if The Three Stooges hurt each other in actuality. The humor stems from everyone being in on the joke. The hugs each bro gives each other affirms the audience that it’s all in good fun. Like Steve-O’s Barnum and Bailey’s Circus Degree, Jackass is all part of a show to enjoy rather than judge. On the merits of judgment, I’ll always hold a soft spot for Jackass: The Movie. But Jackass Forever competes for a strong second. 

You know what you’re paying for

Put it on the buzzer
Photo Credit: Sean Cliver

A balance of pain, shock, and repulsion is crafted from a developed formula. Jackass is an R-rated  live action cartoon where men are shot out of cannons, slammed through barriers, attacked by vicious animals, and forced to eat the unimaginable. It’s Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy in live-action with humans. Many classic bits make a return with a twist taking everything a few notches further into incredible absurdity. How far the pain and repulsion levels went gleefully surprised me. 

Because of their age, I feared the cast would have to be taken easy on. The furthest thing could be from the truth. Some noticeable members are gone. Key member Bam’s Margera’s existence isn’t even mentioned. Probably due to personal issues that could spell negative P.R. for Jackass. Who would have ever thought Jackass would be open-minded? Yet it is. 

The Jackasses of the next generation

Doctor's orders
Photo Credit: Sean Riley  Copyright © 2021 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

With guys like Bam gone, a new cast of characters is welcome. There’s Zach Holmes, a fat guy who’s up for any humiliation to be the next Preston Lacy. There’s a man named Poopie who has a tank’s resilience, and Rachel Wolfson, the first female Jackass. Perhaps Rachel can’t be shot out of a cannon or hurled into a wall as a woman, but she can certainly take her share of scorpion stings I’d challenge most men to do. Some of the new cast works well overall, but if it’s a placeholder for a new generation of Jackasses, I’m okay with the one I have, and luckily this film is all about the classic gang.

Despite their graying hair and wrinkles, Jackass Forever is in every aspect a Jackass film with the budget sent over the roof. Some pranks’ creativity flaunts its multi-millions at the screen for maximum impact in something impressive beyond the scope of its predecessors. Callbacks to Godzilla and Apocalypse Now open the chaos level to 13. The participant’s shock is concerning but damned funny to see when the choppers come flying in. How Ehren McGhehey returns for more, I’ll never know.  

Embrace your youth

when ya gotta go, ya gotta go
Photo Credit: Sean Cliver

Shame some may, but Jackass taps into a primordial funny bone that can’t help but be tickled. There’s a reason kids laugh when you get hurt, specifically in the nether-regions. That doesn’t change when we’re adults, no matter how sophisticated we may become. To let go of the things that keep us youthful is to drown in cynicism until death. I choose to enjoy life, putting my snobbery aside for another grand Dickhouse production. Jackass trims the fat (dialogue and story) from the unfunny slapstick comedies out there. The setup is the anticipation towards the prank. Who’s going to get nutshot first? Who do we want to see hurt most? How will these people react during this social experiment? 

If you’re up for some laughs in the theater with some friends, I can’t think of a better suggestion. Jackass Forever being made in the middle of a pandemic is nothing short of a miracle. As long as the cast is tested plus fully vaccinated, they’re free to share in all the bodily fluids they please. Now that’s a pro-vaccine commercial MTV could make! The whole idea of Jackass is that we can enjoy being immature for a bit. Life is short, so don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Jackass Forever=Live, Laugh, Love. I love these movies and am not afraid to state it. 

Written by Mike Crowley

Mike Crowley is a full member of the Chicago Indie Critics. He periodically produces video content for and writes weekly film reviews for his publication You'll Probably Agree. He also writes content for Film Obsessive from time to time. You can follow him on Twitter, Tik Tok, and Instagram @ypareviews

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