Originally Reviewed – 10/26/2010
Once upon a time, in the days of yesteryear, an out of work actor, a circus clown, a professional skateboarder and a couple of dudes working at a boarding magazine combined to create a show that would be a testament to bad taste. Feeding off of our primal enjoyment at watching people hurt, maim and make fools of themselves, their show would quickly become a turn of the century phenomenon. A strange combination of skateboarder culture, gross out stunts and genuine comedy, the show known as Jackass would spawn a number of spinoffs, a generation of copycats and two very successful movies. Although the third and latest film in the series, Jackass 3D, provides more of the same rambunctious tomfoolery we’ve come to love from the boys, sadly, despite the 3D and super slow-mo effects, the result is a little stale but still satisfying.
Knoxville, Bam, Steve-O and the rest of the Jackass crew are back for one more round of action with long time director Jeff Tremaine behind the camera. Subtlety has never been a strong suit of the franchise and the bits reflect that, ranging from slapstick to gross out to downright surreal. While there are a few absolute gems in this film, such as the Super Poo Cocktail, the super glue sketches and the absolutely gut wrenching “train scene”, much of the film, while funny enough, is treading on familiar ground. Not to say watching a grown man getting gored by a ram isn’t funny, but an evening on YouTube could get you the same type of thrills.
That, in fact, is main enemy and ultimate downfall of Jackass 3D…time. Back in the year 2000, when the original Jackass was aired, half of the country didn’t have Internet in their homes, those who did were dialing in via telephone lines and social video sites, like YouTube, didn’t exist yet. Turning on MTV expecting a Missy Elliot video and getting grown men stapling things to their scrotums was shocking and outrageous. Now, you can get the same effect on your cell phone if need be. The march of time and progress has dulled the Jackass experience a bit, and while Joe Shmo stuntboy can’t produce the type of shenanigans a 25 million dollar budget can, it would have been nice to see the money used for more inventive bits as opposed to fancy cameras in three dimensions. Instead, we get Johnny dressed as an old guy (again), Steve-O drinking bodily secretions (again) and Pontius playing with his wiener (again).
Despite the repetition, Jackass is a well made film that provides a good number of laughs, even though we’ve seen the bit time and time again. Not for the faint of heart or stomach, Jackass 3D is a great time with a few drinks and a few friends. In regards to the question of how much more can this team of masochists take, one look at the ending credits makes it seem like this is the final stanza and if so, good for them. In this critics opinion, it’s time for Steve-O to hang up his banana hammock, Bam to stick to boarding and Knoxville to find actual work. Jackass has had a great run and will always be a part of my adolescent years but if this third installment is any indication, better to quit while you’re still making me laugh my ass off.
NOTE : Sadly, the feature is only being shown in 3D, so my recommendation would be to leave this for the rental racks as the 3D effects are not worth the five dollar up charge. Hopefully, they release this film in theaters in the standard 2D, but until then, wait for DVD.
Score – 70%