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6 items from 2006

Jackass Number Two

22 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

It didn't seem possible, but Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Wee Man and company might just have cooked up a sequel that's even wilder, funnier, extra-depraved and more gag-inducing than the seemingly incomparable "Jackass the Movie".

But whether or not it goes down in cinema history as "The Godfather: Part II" of self-mutilation documentaries, "Jackass Number Two" -- aptly named given an even greater obsession with bodily fluids -- ensures that the screams of laughter come fast and furious in this frat boy's fever dream of a circus sideshow.

While the uninitiated should probably keep their distance -- this one's definitely goosing the boundaries of its R rating -- the appreciative fan base that helped make the original one of Paramount's most profitable pictures of 2002 is certain to put a big smile on Sumner Redstone's face when the opening weekend figures start pouring in.

Granted, nothing quite matches the inspired novelty of the repeated downing of those giant mounds of wasabi or the totaled rental car return that were among the highlights of the first, too-hot-for-TV, big-screen edition, but director Jeff Tremaine and his resident Jackasses have kept the overall consistency of the bits higher, while pushing it all along at an appropriately breakneck pace.

Again, raging bulls, slithering reptiles, scary inanimate objects and High Voltage meet up with dangling personal extremities to outrageous effect, but even as one wonders if they might have crossed over a line (or two) during, say, a sequence involving the "milking" of a primed stallion, resisting laughter remains futile.

Here as before the secret to their surprising cross-gender appeal is that Knoxville and the boys like to keep their gleefully juvenile pranks all in the family. Most of the time, the ones being punk'd are part of the Jackass inner circle, and despite all the nasty welts and burns and expulsion of various forms of matter, there's seldom an overt meanness to their antics or even a whiff of the pervasive sexism, racism or homophobia that have become part and parcel of the usual shock comedy experience.

Also coming back for more are Tony Hawk, Rip Taylor and Bam's hapless mom and dad. Directors John Waters and Spike Jonze, who's one of the producers, also join in on the fun, with Jonze donning a pair of perilously pendulous prosthetics to play a very old lady with an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.

There's even enough money left in the budget for a big closing number that pays homage to bigger-than-life movie musicals; it doesn't really deliver the anticipated goods but nevertheless gives rise to the notion of an all-Jackass Oscar ceremony.

It would be worth it just for the gift bags.


Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures and MTV Films present

a Dickhouse production in association with Lynch Siderow Prods.


Director: Jeff Tremaine

Producers: Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville

Executive producers: Derek Freda, Trip Taylor, David Gale, Van Toffler


Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Wee Man, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey

Running time -- 92 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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Men overboard with new films

21 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Between Jackass Number Two and Jet Li's Fearless this weekend, young males are again the primary target of the domestic boxoffice. The question is, can they possibly support both films plus last week's holdover, Sony Pictures' Gridiron Gang? Add on the fact that Flyboys is targeting older males and All the King's Men is out to reach adults, and one must wonder what teenage girls will be doing this weekend because there sure isn't a new movie out there for them. Jackass, from Paramount Pictures, is the sure winner of the weekend. Johnny Knoxville and his gang of knuckleheads will stun audiences again with their stupid human tricks. The R-rated film is set to bow in 3,059 theaters, but whether it will reach the $22.7 million opening number of Jackass: The Movie in 2002 remains to be seen. Industry insiders are placing the gross in a range similar to the original, though with the boxoffice down the past two weekends, underperforming is a possibility. Directed by Jeff Tremaine, who helmed the original, Jackass reunites Knoxville with cohorts Bam Margera, Chris Pontius and Steve-O, among others. »

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Margera Reignites Rumors of Simpson Affair

21 September 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jackass star Bam Margera has re-ignited rumors he slept with Jessica Simpson while she was still married after appearing on the Howard Stern radio show on Tuesday. Margera's former fiance, Jenn Rivell, told a Pennsylvania radio show in 2005 that Simpson and Margera had sex while the pop star was still married to Nick Lachey. At the time, Bam's father Phil Margera also told Philadelphia radio deejays Preston & Stern his son admitted bedding Simpson. Stern interrogated Margera on his show, asking about the night the two spent together while she was filming The Dukes Of Hazzard with his Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville. Margera said the relationship was blown out of proportion, but admitted he "bumped into Simpson", which caused his fellow Jackass co-star Steve-O to say suggestively, "Yeah, bumped into her!" Margera claims they "wound up at her parents house drinking margaritas and it went from there" and said afterwards he "left at eight in the morning." When Stern asked Margera if Simpson looked good naked, he said she had a personal trainer for the film adding, "Yeah, she looked good. I can't deny that!" »

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Knoxville Attacked in Bar Brawl

25 August 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The Dukes Of Hazzard star Johnny Knoxville was left shaken when he was attacked by a man at a Hollywood bar last week. Knoxville was drinking at dive bar Tinys KO, along with Jackass co-stars Steve-O and Chris Pontius, when a man shoved him against a wall. According to an eyewitness Steve-O and Pontius immediately dragged the attacker outside. The witness tells US OK! magazine, "Johnny tried to mediate. He looked a bit shaken up when he came back into the bar, but the other two were disappointed that they didn't fight." Knoxville recently told Spin magazine that people regularly try and pick fights with him saying, "People think by challenging me they're going to show they're tough. But I'm not tough. Decent drinker, not a bad kisser, but not a great fighter." »

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New Line, Coraci go 'Hawaiian'

27 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Frank Coraci is attached to direct Hawaiian Dick, a supernatural private eye thriller being produced by Practical Pictures' Craig Perry and Quattro Media's Jim Strader for New Line Cinema. Set in 1953 Hawaii, Hawaiian tells the story of a down-on-his-luck big-city detective who gets involved in a kidnapping case of a local island girl who turns up dead but won't stay that way. The script, by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Freddy vs. Jason), is based on the 2002 comic by B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin. Johnny Knoxville was at one point pegged to star. »

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The Ringer

23 January 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The Special Olympics are played for laughs in a sugar-coated comedy that's more Sara Lee than Farrelly.

A Farrelly brothers movie that's not a Farrelly brothers movie, "The Ringer" would like to have it both ways.

Produced by but not written or directed by the siblings responsible for the boundary-goosing "There's Something About Mary", this wannabe daring comedy about a man who attempts to "fix" the Special Olympics strains for that patented naughty and nice balance with squirmingly squishy results.

As calibrated by director Barry W. Blaustein and screenwriter Ricky Blitt, the Johnny Knoxville vehicle is neither the edgy laugh riot it thinks it is nor the ultimately inspirational eye-opener it aspires to be, despite being given the blessings of Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver, who takes an executive producer credit.

The neither-here-nor-there end product will inevitably result in nothing special for Fox Searchlight, which took on the film after the bigger studios shied away from the subject matter.

Knoxville, in a role that would have been a better fit a decade ago for an Adam Sandler or a Jim Carrey, plays Steve Barker, a mild-mannered guy who quits his desk job when he's instructed to fire his company's longtime janitor, Stavi (Luis Avalos).

Guilt-ridden, Steve hires Stavi to do his gardening, but when a lawnmower mishap results in Stavi parting company with several of his fingers, Steve has to make good on his promise of full medical insurance coverage.

Unable to come up with a better idea, he reluctantly goes along with his smarmy Uncle Gary's (Brian Cox) scheme of fixing the Special Olympics by entering the competition with the intention of defeating the event's odds-on favorite, the six-time Gold Medal pentathlete Jimmy (real-life competitor Leonard Flowers).

Thus Steve becomes the mentally challenged Jeffy, but while Lynn Sheridan (Katherine Heigl), the sweet-natured Special Olympics volunteer, takes a shine to him, his other teammates quickly catch on to his unconvincing ruse.

But rather than turn him in, the others, wanting to see the arrogant Jimmy taken down a few notches, help make Jeffy/Steve into a viable contender and, in the process, teach him a life-changing lesson about courage and integrity.

That's at least what the picture wishes to say, but Blaustein, who helmed the entertaining wrestling docu "Beyond the Mat", and Blitt, whose TV credits include "Family Guy" and "The Jeff Foxworthy Show", fail to make both the comedic elements sharp enough and the stereotype-shattering aspects understated enough to effectively bring home its worthy message.

It's the kind of tricky balancing act that the Farrelly brothers, who have accorded respect to special needs individuals in films like "Mary" and "Stuck on You", used to excel in before moving on to more conventional fare like "Fever Pitch".

Part of that problem here is that former "Jackass" Knoxville lacks the necessary core affability of a Sandler or Carrey or Will Ferrell to strike the necessary audience-identifying chord.

And while the decision to have both actors and real-life "diffabled" individuals playing Knoxville's teammates may have been a noble idea in theory, in practice it's a bit uncomfortable watching some of those more obvious impersonations.

If "The Ringer" had the guts of a "Murderball", all those good intentions might not have been squandered on this spineless production.

The Ringer

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fox Searchlight Pictures presentsa Conundrum Entertainment production


Director: Barry W. Blaustein

Screenwriter: Ricky Blitt

Producers: Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas, Bobby Farrelly, John Jacobs

Executive producer: Tim Shriver

Director of photography: Mark Irwin

Production designer: Arlan Jay Vetter

Editor: George Folsey Jr.

Costume designer: Lisa Jensen

Music: Mark Mothersbaugh


Steve Barker/Jeffy: Johnny Knoxville

Gary Barker: Brian Cox

Lynn: Katherine Heigl

Glen: Jed Rees

Thomas: Bill Chott

Billy: Edward Barbanell

Jimmy: Leonard Flowers

Stavi: Luis Avalos

MPAA rating PG-13

Running time -- 94 minutes »

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6 items from 2006

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