1 item from 2002
In their great wisdom, the folks at Paramount decided not to screen "Jackass: The Movie" for critics in time to make Friday's papers, apparently figuring that the picture's many quiet subtleties would be lost on those hurrying to make a deadline.
Critics need a good laugh, too, and this too-extreme-for-TV rendition of the notorious MTV show delivers the outrageous, sickening, sidesplitting goods in steaming, visceral heaps.
Those familiar with the antics of Knoxville and his team of damaged daredevils already have a good idea of what's in store, but the production's most impressive stunt involves the elevation of the frat house prank to an art form.
Recklessly riding on the coattails of all that has come before them -- from "Candid Camera" and "The Three Stooges" to "Super Dave" and "The Tom Green Show" -- Knoxville and his fellow jackasses succeed where so many other gross-out artists have failed thanks to one key selling point: They have remembered to let the audience in on the joke.
Those predominantly young male viewers, showing their appreciation with rare roars of laughter, should ensure jackass-tronomical business for Paramount, and given its piddling budget (less than $5 million), it should handily emerge as one of the studio's more profitable hits.
All that said, the "Jackass" experience is probably not for the faint of heart, especially when some of those stunts involve the administering of deliberate paper cuts with one serious-looking manila envelope slicing its way swiftly between each of Knoxville's fingers and toes.
Then there's that sushi restaurant sequence, in which another member of Team Jackass snorts a sizable clump of wasabi (with a little soy sauce chaser) and lives to experience the gut-wrenching -- not to mention retching -- repercussions. Twice.
Given the group's testosterone-only composition, it's probably not surprising that so many of their antics involve the crotch and/or bodily fluids, and while it can all get a little numbing by the 60-minute mark, overall there's wild inspiration to burn.
Director Jeff Tremaine, who cut his teeth on the series, shrewdly keeps out of the way, letting the back-to-back barrage of unrelated sketches speak for themselves without the needless intrusion of anything resembling technical proficiency.
With most of the discomfort and humiliation essentially self-inflicted rather than being hurled upon the unsuspecting onlooker (though there's a little of that going on as well, and it's really funny), Knoxville and his band of skateboarding, exhibitionist pain freaks come across as a bunch of crazy but oddly lovable goofballs.
Now if only they could come up with a stunt that would ensure there won't be an "American Idol: The Movie".
JACKASS: THE MOVIE
Paramount Pictures and MTV Films present a Dickhouse production in association with Lynch Siderow Prods.
Credits: Director: Jeff Tremaine; Producers: Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville; Executive producers: Trip Taylor; John Miller, David Gale; Director of photography: Dimitry Elyashkevich; Editors: Liz Ewart; Mark Hansen, Kristine Young; Costume designer: Melissa Lacombe; Music supervisor: Karen Glauber. Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, Brandon DiCamillo.
MPAA rating R, running time 85 minutes.
1 item from 2002
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