Jackass: Number Two (Paramount Pictures, R)

If a laugh-o-meter actually existed, I would not be at all surprised to learn that I laughed the most and the hardest at the two Jackass movies than I have at any other films of the new millennium.

 

 

When the original Jackass: The Movie came out, the guy who lived across the hall from me at the time threatened me to not write a review of it, because, in his words, "it isn't a movie." (It's worth noting that this guy is a fan.) It wasn't so much of an issue then, because the film wasn't screened for press. But now, when I certainly wasn't expecting a follow-up film (Johnny Knoxville has an at least somewhat respectable career these days, so it's good to see that he hasn't been spoiled), there is indeed a sequel, and it's more relevant to our culture than ever. Hell, in addition to some respectable artists being involved (usual Jackasses notwithstanding, Jackass: Number Two features appearances by John Waters (natch), the Three 6 Mafia, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Spike Jonze (who was in the first one as well)), Paramount decided to screen this one for press, and is even giving it a three-press-screening push (at least in the St. Louis area) that I never, ever would have guessed.

And really, I fully expect Jackass: Number Two to get slaughtered by most film critics and ignored by all of the others, but those film critics (and religious groups and concerned parents etc. etc.) will be wrong. For one thing, the two Jackass films practically beg to be dissected and theorized upon by film writers (admittedly, Jackass: The Movie played a major role in my undergraduate senior thesis), but that stuff's all boring (but, for the sake of argument, here are some topics to discuss post-screening if you and your friends are dry, intellectual types: What is to be made of the homosexual undertones of the film, and how does this reflect on the loud, presumably homophobic, jock frat boy meathead types that stereotypically like the Jackass films and TV shows? What does a man getting branded or another man getting a fishhook stuck through his face and then thrown into the ocean with sharks say about animal cruelty? And, maybe most importantly and topically, watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated and then watch the R-rated Jackass: Number Two. What can be learned about the MPAA for what they wouldn't allow in R-rated films showcased in TFINYR and what they would allow in Jackass? Also, of all of the depravity and dangerous acts depicted in Jackass, why is the only noticeably censored image that of a man drinking horse semen from a cup?). And while there are myriad interesting points to be made from all of this, I'm labeling it all "boring" because to discuss them, especially as I'm doing in this venue, detracts from how goddamned fun it is to watch Jackass. If a laugh-o-meter actually existed, I would not be at all surprised to learn that I laughed the most and the hardest at the two Jackass movies than I have at any other films of the new millennium.

And laughing is what the Jackass movies are all about. When asked by Bam Margera's mother why he would burn a penis into the naked ass of one of his friends, Ryan Dunn responds, "Because it was funny." Coupled with Steve-O's post leech-directly-on-the-eyeball query about his heavily bloodshot eye-"Does it look cool?"-it's easy to figure out what these guys are really after. It isn't the academic theory, it's the entertainment. And yes, Ryan, it was funny, and yes, Steve-O, it does look cool.

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