Jackass 2 review by The Grim Ringler

Perhaps there is a sublime art to jackassery that many try, but few manage to pull-off, but for some reason, this formula of pranks and stunts just works. There’s something charming about these man-children and their enthusiasm for what they’re doing, despite the impending pain. It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be as funny or charming as it is, but, you know what, it does, and sometimes you just have to accept that.

This second installment of what had once been an MTV cult hit picks up exactly where the first one left off, or, well, not exactly. The boys are not old and ready for the glue factory, as the first one imagines, but are ready to go and running from the bulls. Literally. The film is a mix of the gross-out gags (pooping, piercing, and leeches, oh my), the prank (filmmaker Spike Jonze made up like an old woman who is a bit too revealing while out for a stroll), and the absurd stunts (say, Johnny Knoxville piloting a giant homemade rocket) that have made these men a fair bit of coin. The gags come hard and fast and there is bound to be at least one thing that will make you queasy or force you to close your eyes as, if they are good at anything, the jackasses are good at pushing the boundaries. And then crapping on them. The film is broken up so that you never quite know what will happen next and the film is kept fresh this way. As before, the film’s star, and the star of the group, is Johnny Knoxville, who is known for his child-like laughter before and after something particularly dangerous. It’s rare to see a man get trampled over and over again by a bull, then laugh his head off at how crazy it was. In the end though, the best way to sum the movie up is this – it’s more of the same. If you loved the show, if you loved the first film, then you’ll feel at home in the company of some very good, and very twisted friends. If you didn’t care for the antics of the jackasses, well, then there’s a swell period piece playing somewhere in the Cineplex, I suggest you catch the next showing.

The funny thing with Jackass 2 is that I was reminded of the dangerous, exciting stunt work of comedians like Buster Keaton who risked himself for his comedy and you get the same feel here. Yes, these guys are asses and all, but there’s a charm to their bravado and it’s their friendship, as much as anything, that makes this such a good film. These aren’t strangers who are torturing one another; these are friends who are daring each other to push things past the point of no return and into the realm of idiocy. But the thing is that they genuinely worry over one another and, as much as they love the prank, they don’t always like that their friends get hurt. Well, sometimes they don’t like it. It helps that the gags and pranks are hilarious. Sure, there are the obligatory shout-out moments where moderately famous people are in on their happenings, or are voyeurs at the scene, but generally, this doesn’t get in the way of the true stars. The addition of what amounts to their ‘fifth Beatle’, Spike Jonze works wonderfully. His bits as the exhibitionist gramma are hilarious and will give people nightmares or bad memories of The Shining. I suppose part of the fun too is seeing how far the guys will push things, and how much you’re willing to watch. Once upon a time people would get together in someone’s basement to watch Faces of Death to see how much they could watch without feeling sick, now we get together in theaters to watch people willfully putting leeches on their eyes. Progress? Who can say, but it sure is fun.

The movie’s heart and soul is its cast. If you like them, you’ll like the film. It will play much better with an audience, and will definitely lose something on home video, but in a theater, it’s amazing. I haven’t laughed this hard at a movie in ages. All I can say is it works. It’s sick, but it works.


9 out of 10 Jackasses
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