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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.

JACKASS NUMBER TWO

Paramount Pictures

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

Cast:

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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