‘Jackass Forever’ Movie Review: A Joyously Juvenile Good Time
If you haven’t seen any Jackass movie before and are curious if you should try it, here’s a very simple test: Do you not mind the idea of seeing grown adults get tossed around in a porta-potty, stung in the lips by a scorpion, or hit in the testicles in new ways you might have thought impossible? If those things don’t necessarily appeal to you, you may not like Jackass Forever, but this may be the crew that sells you on the value of low-brow humor because these guys are the best to ever do it.
In the new movie Jackass Forever, filmed over 10 years after the series’ third installment, Johnny Knoxville and company deliver their swan song with some outrageous stunts and pranks and pass the torch onto some exciting and hilarious new cast members that were clearly influenced by their huge legacy on the world of real-life slapstick.
It feels truly surreal to read the words “These stunts were performed by professionals,” right before you watch Chris Pontius’ green-painted penis wreak havoc on a miniature city, before being bitten by a snapping turtle, in a Godzilla-inspired introduction, but it’s really true. Even if the men, and now women, of Jackass, have sacrificed their bodies and some brain cells for these insane stunts, they do really sell them in a way that not all performers can pull off.
The new cast members include former Odd Future hype man Jasper Dolphin, internet stunt performer Zach Holmes, comedian Rachel Wolfson, Action Point actor Eric Manaka, and the absolutely hilarious new highlight Sean “Poopies” McInerney. All of the new cast are super game for whatever gets thrown at them, whether they know it’s coming or not. With every hilarious Evil Knievel-Esque stunt that happens, there are also demented behind-the-scenes pranks that terrify the cast and leave you wheezing from laughter and some hilariously surreal one-off bits that are gone as soon as they started.
Some of the original Jackass crew members don’t go as far as they used to, with members like Pontius, Steve-O, Preston Lacy, Dave England and Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, mostly only having one standout stunt each that makes it in the final cut, and acting as peanut gallery for most other bits. But they have more than paid their dues at this point, and still do more insane stuff for this film than any average actor or guy off the street. Knoxville, for his part, still commits to some insane bits like being shot out of a cannon, charged by a bull in a stunt that resulted in brain damage, and a hilarious public prank as his recurring character Irving Zisman as seen in Bad Grandpa.
One legacy cast member that didn’t seem to be slowing his pace at all was Ehren “Danger Ehren” McGhehey. McGhehey was easily the MVP of the entire film. He committed to some of the nastiest nut shots of the entire franchise, taking the old movie’s classic “Cup Test” bit to horrific extremes. Danger Ehren was even victim to one of the movie’s most chilling pranks seen in the film’s trailer where, under the guise of doing a lie detector test, he was restrained, slathered with honey, and left in a room with a bear. Ehren’s performance both when he’s facing challenges he’s expecting, and protesting against his castmates when being pranked, was absolutely hilarious and painful to watch.
The core of joy you get from the film is seeing the pure fun and chaotic energy that emanates from the cast and crew. Its pacing starts to lose steam with some bits in the middle that are too much of a retread of older movies without a new twist, you’ll still be laughing through pretty much the whole thing. The beginning and end of the film are the best Jackass has ever been, though, and absolutely make up for any sort of slump. Even if blue humor isn’t your usual cup of tea, the grossest bits are short enough that you can avert your eyes and they’ll have moved on. Watching Jackass Forever in the theater was a hilarious and cathartic experience, and it’s great to see studios throwing a huge budget at a sendup of the lowest of low-brow humor.