Jackass Forever, by Cameron J. Czaja

Hi my name is Cameron J. Czaja and welcome to The Legionnaire. In this review I will be talking the latest installment in the Jackass film series, Jackass Forever, hence why I introduced myself in this review. If you’re familiar with the franchise, then you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, then oh boy. Let me give you a brief twenty-year history of foolishness that has led up to this film.

For those who aren’t aware, Jackass started out as a reality comedy series on MTV, first airing in 2000, and was created by Jeff Tremaine (the director of Jackass Forever), Johnny Knoxville, and famed director Spike Jonze. The series consisted of a cast doing crazy and outrageous stunts and pranks that would involve themselves and/or the general public, done in a documentary-style narrative. These stunts would include situations with people getting hurt from the stunts, which has the repercussions in the aftermath. This cast consisted of nine cast members (and several guest members) including Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, and Jason Acuña (aka Wee Man). Unsurprisingly, the show gathered a good amount of controversy for its outrageous hijinks and unintentional encouragement of dangerous behavior, despite the fact that every episode featured disclaimers stating that the stunts shown were professionally done, were very dangerous, and should not be imitated. After the show ended, the franchise continued via a featured length film showcasing stunts too extreme for the television series. From the release of the film, several spinoff series were made which consisted various the supporting cast members, while Knoxville decided to pursue a career in Hollywood as an actor. In 2006, the second film was released tilted Jackass Number Two was released, and a few years later Jackass 3D premiered. It was the first Jackass film that I saw in its entirety. 

When I heard that a fourth entry in the series tilted Jackass Forever was being made, I was somewhat surprised. This is due to the cast being much older and not being able to do certain stunts given their age. However, as the saying goes, if there’s a will there’s a way, though if this was the last film featuring the original cast then I wouldn’t be surprised one bit. In addition to that, I wasn’t sure if the demand for another Jackass film was there given that YouTube and TikTok provide an outlet for people to do these pranks and stunts themselves that anyone can see instantly. That being said, did Jackass Forever live up to the same standards as the previous films and the television series, and will it get people to go to the theater to see it? As usual let’s find out. 

Like the previous films, Jackass Forever is a documentary style film with no narrative, but rather showcases random stunts and pranks for an hour and a half.  Also, cast member from the previous films return except for Ryan Dunn, who passed away in a car accident in 2011, and Bam Margera who was fired from the film due to being a liability. In addition to bringing almost everyone back, this is the first Jackass film to introduce new cast members such as Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Zach Holmes, Eric Manaka, Jasper Dolphin, and Rachel Wolfson who is the first female member of the Jackass crew. These five new members are put in the ringer and endure the pain and gross shenanigans that the veteran cast members have done in the past, which is nothing but pure chaos. 

By The Legionnaire’s standards, this film shouldn’t be viewed for a good number of reasons. It’s gross, lacks decency, and is pretty graphic, not really for gore but for its unapologetic amount of nudity. And yet . . . I couldn’t help but find myself laughing throughout the film. I know, plot twist!

When I saw Jackass Forever, I invited a good friend of mine (another Catholic, mind you) and we were both laughing constantly at the dumb shenanigans that were presented towards us. To be honest, it was kind of relaxing just turning off my brain and enjoying lowbrow comedy that most people would turn their nose up at. Normally I’m not the kind of person that would advocate for mindless humor, but as long as you’re being creative about it, then you somewhat win me over. And there were creative things within Jackass Forever . . . more or less. One creative stunt that caught me off guard was one titled Musical Chair Bags. This stunt involved four members playing musical chairs but once the music stops, they have to get in the right chair. If they get in the wrong one, they are sent flying in the air from an air bag placed in the chair. This almost made me spit out my drink because I was laughing so hard at that stunt. Like I said, it caught me off guard.

I think what works for me watching Jackass Forever is how it’s structured because watching a Jackass film is like watching a fireworks display. There are some good bits, there’s some impressive bits, and then there’s some where it was pretty meh. Also, much like fireworks, because the film was so random, I wasn’t sure when it would end. I then realized that I knew when it was the final stunt because that particular stunt was going on for quite some time and they were pulling out all the stops for it such as adding explosions and all the cast members participating in it. Honestly, the way it’s formatted works perfectly because if this was a straight up narrative, it would’ve been a dud. A perfect example of that is the 2018 film Action Point, which feels like a spiritual spinoff of the Jackassfranchise. It starred Johnny Knoxville as an owner of a dangerous amusement park, which includes dangerous stunts similar to Jackass. Creative with the pratfalls, poor execution with the story. 

If I had to add any criticisms with Jackass Forever, it’s that I think the amount of nudity in the film was a bit of an overkill. I’m not too sensitive to nudity if it’s done in an artistic way, but the way it was portrayed in this film was a bit too much for me. Also, I feel like the new cast members didn’t get as much screen time as I had hoped. They way they were marketing this I assumed that the new cast members would share more of the spotlight given how they may take over the franchise. Then again, maybe that’s the way the original crew members were in a majority in these stunts because they knew this may be their final film in the series and they wanted to go out with a bang. Only time will tell.

Much like how Jesus had his Disciples, Johnny Knoxville has his crew, though instead of spreading the word of God, they provided laughter via creative and dumb pranks for cheap laughs that I did get. The best way to describe Jackass Forever is that it was a fun, guilty pleasure for an hour and a half. While I can’t fully recommend this film to The Legionnaire’s standards, I will say that it’s better and more creative than a majority of the dumb stuff that I find on YouTube. While I may not see this film again from beginning to end in the foreseeable future, I will be looking forward to watching the bits I did enjoy watching online when it becomes available. Hopefully between then I’ll watch a film much more wholesome and intellectual.

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