After a nearly 12-year hiatus from pure Jackass movies (we did get stunt-oriented narrative movies with Johnny Knoxville like Bad Grandpa and Action Point), we’ve finally gotten the much-anticipated Jackass Forever.
If you worried that the boys, now approaching or passing 50, are pulling some sort of Ghostbusters: Afterlife by showing up in the last five minutes, holding their dicks, and then passing their dicks to a younger crew, stop worrying. Yes, there is plenty of new blood in Jackass Forever, but the true stars of Jackass—the likes of Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Preston Lacy and Wee Man—are still taking major hits and spilling their older blood on the stunt battlefield.
There are some all-time-classic stunts in this movie. Knoxville restaging the Flight of Icarus while getting blasted out of a cannon is the epitome of crazy—while being strangely beautiful and expertly done at the same time. The man in mid-flight, before plunging a very long way to the hard water below, strikes a majestic pose facing the camera when most of us would be straight-up shitting our pants.
To be clear, people do shit their pants in this movie. There is actually one stunt involving Dirty Dancing that never gets executed, because one of the team members needs to be escorted to a locker room somewhere for clean shorts. In other movies, this would be an embarrassing outtake, but in the Jackass universe, this is prime footage—prime cameraman-is-gagging-into-his-COVID mask-as-he-attempts-to-capture-it footage.
You’ll find no complaints about that here. This film provides the kind of cathartic laughter fans both old and new really need right now. Its timing, in the middle of a long, cold (in many places), pandemic winter, is perfect.
One of the best running gags of this franchise has been Knoxville’s willingness to get in the ring with large bulls, buffaloes, etc., and take unbridled hits from the angry beasts. The master does not disappoint this time out. He takes the nastiest hit of all his bull encounters, doing two full flips in the air, breaking a bunch of things in his body and getting concussed. I do fear a bit for the man’s later years as he deals with the consequences of all these breaks and brain injuries, but for now, he seems to be having a good ol’ time.
The newbies include standup comic Rachel Wolfson. While Wolfson doesn’t do a ton of stunts, she absolutely pays her dues, including a tongue-kiss to a taser, and, most alarmingly, taking face stings from a large black scorpion. Those two stunts get instant entrance into the Jackass Hall of Fame.
New guys Sean “Poopies” McInerney and Zach Holmes are as insane as anybody who has ever shown up on a Jackass set. Celebrities like Eric Andre; Tyler, the Creator; and Machine Gun Kelly make the mistake of walking into the production area and falling victim to various violent pranks—and they fall valiantly.
Perhaps the biggest and most prominent star of Jackass Forever is the cinematically elusive man-dick. Man-dick has shown up in movies before, but if there is a Guinness Book of World Records award for Amount of Man-Dick in an R-Rated Film, surely this movie holds it. Man-dick dresses up as Godzilla, has its accompanying sack featured as a boxing-gym punching bag, gets bruised by paintballs, takes a full-strength “cup test” punch from a heavyweight mixed-martial-arts fighter, and, in the case of poor Steve-O, gets used as a place to attract stinging bees. If man-dick is not a character you are privy to liking or seeing, this movie might not be your cup of tea. Or pig semen. Let it also be known that pig semen is prominently featured in this movie.
Will Jackass Forever be the last of Jackass? That’s what some of the participants are saying, but the film is a huge hit, and the older guys are still entertaining even when they aren’t getting demolished and are just cackling at somebody else’s ball-sack maladies. I think Knoxville may be done with getting hit by bulls, but he’d probably still allow an alligator to bite his man-dick. As long as it is below the neck, I’m thinking he and his fellow Jackass pioneers will still be game. And the new folks are capable of providing plenty of horrifyingly hilarious future entertainment.
Also, as long as Chris Pontius still looks mighty fine in a thong, there will be more Jackass. Party-boy is not only aging gracefully, but perhaps in reverse.
Jackass Forever is dedicated to the late Ryan Dunn, and it doesn’t feature the troubled Bam Margera, who is, perhaps, an example of the bad side of this sort of tomfoolery. It really is a miracle there haven’t been any on-set Jackass deaths. Plenty of folks have died from bull hits in this universe, but Knoxville has repeatedly survived them. He’s protected by some sort of Hollywood force field.
It’s all in good fun—or, perhaps, totally inappropriate fun. It’s fun, at least, for those of us who think it’s humorous when a large bear feasts on honey and salmon resting upon Ehren McGhehey’s man-dick.
Jackass Forever is playing at theaters across the valley.