Jackass 3D (Paramount, R)

Okay, now let’s be honest: this is what 3-D was made for. Hell, this is what cinema was made for.

Jackass. I didn’t think we’d get another one of these, and we very likely won’t after this one. You’ll see it the first time you see Johnny Knoxville on screen—he’s just as spry as ever, but since 2006’s Jackass Number Two he has become extremely gaunt, and he’s going to turn 40 next year. Steve-O is clean these days, and cinematographer Lance Bangs’ stomach keeps getting weaker. How much longer can these guys keep up these reckless stunts?
What we can do is be grateful that we have this one. Speaking honestly, no series of films has ever in my life made me laugh so reliably hard as the three Jackass movies. My initial impression is that 3D is the weakest of the bunch (only marginally so), yet it still had me laughing so hard I was kind of embarrassed for myself, and crying besides. I’m not one to laugh so hard I cry—it generally only happens a couple of times a year total, and almost never at the movies.
In addition to the added third dimension, 3D makes better use of slow motion than the previous movies have. The opening sequence, which is something more obvious than homoerotic, with the entire cast in their underwear posing in front of a giant rainbow, features such brilliant feats of filmmaking as Preston Lacy getting a cannonball shot into his girth in slow motion so we can feel every wave of his flab. Later his sweat is collected from a saran wrap suit, and of course some of it drips into the camera. Expect this also of poop, pee and barf, as well as the odd projectile dildo or live snake.
As you might have surmised from this review (or from having seen the previous two Jackass films), each installment in the series gets closer and closer to being outright deviant porn. You can really get a feel for how lax the ratings were in the years that they came out. In Number Two they censored one of the guys drinking horse semen from a cup with a silly floating black box, but in 3D we see multiple peeing scenes and one particularly graphic pooping scene, as well as a lot more unobscured penises flopping around than in previous films. It’s likely to make the homophobe contingent in the audience squirm, as the Jackass movies always have. (At one point Knoxville even wears a t-shirt that says “Totally Straight” in rainbow letters with a unicorn in the background).
If Jackass 3D has a flaw, it’s that it is frontloaded. Almost all of the best bits take place within the first half of the movie, and the final stunt is sort of a letdown. In fairness, it’s hard to top, say, “beehive tetherball,” wherein we get two guys in skimpy bear suits batting at a nest of angry bees. Bees will freak you out in 3-D!
Well, there is one other flaw—it feels too short. This is partly because it is so much fun to watch, but also because with the aging main cast and the four-year interim between installments, this will have to be the last movie in the series. If they keep it up much longer, Knoxville won’t need help from the makeup department for his Irving Zisner bits. | Pete Timmermann

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