The Pitch: Johnny Knoxville takes one step closer to not needing that old age make up…
The Review: If the thought that it’s more than ten years since Johnny Knoxville and his pals burst onto our screens, then have a thought for them. Could they have really imagined that after all this time, they’d still be attempting to find cruel and unusual ways to tease, torment and torture each other? There has, of course, been a long break since the last instalment, even if you include the deleted scenes which escaped onto DVD under the pretence of being a separate movie, so it is it really worth the wait? For that matter, is it really worth the trouble?
The excuse for this dip into the well of human depravity, of course, is the opportunity to affix a D to the 3 of the title. Always looking to do things properly where it counts, they’ve got some proper 3D kit, then set about finding ways to use it. This isn’t to say that every stunt requires the use of 3D; indeed, more of them than not would be absolutely fine in 2D, but there are undoubtedly some memorable moments. What actually works better here is the other new innovation, the high speed camera used to capture the moments of heavily inflicted pain; watching the moment of impact in crystal clear slow motion adds to the feeling of awe and sense of fascination as you watch the slow-motion convulsions, and also to the empathy you’ll feel for each one on the receiving end.
Of course, Jackass has never been about purely sadistic pleasures; the intent is to make us laugh, and a lot of that is dependent on the camaraderie and interplay between the various Jackasses. Most make a return, only Raab Himself and Brandon DiCamillo not present from the core cast and the rest might look a little more creased, but are still willing to give their all in both the physical and the just plain daft. Knoxville might be the figurehead, but the most telling contribution is that of Steve-O, who has discovered sobriety since the last movie and enters into most of the stunts with a new found sense of self-awareness, giving him much more of the expression of a rabbit in the headlights, about two seconds before it’s about to connect with bumper.
It’s not all about the physical, of course, and Jackass is as smart as ever in the execution of some of its high concepts, such as a bar fight played out by Wee-Man and a few of his friends. April and Phil, Bam’s put upon parents, get put upon again although it’s sometimes more of their own choosing now, and stalwarts of the series from Spike Jonze to Rip Taylor all pop up in their well-worn roles. So to answer those earlier questions, it was worth the wait; absence has made the heart grow fonder and the technical innovations add an element of freshness to the familiar. As to whether it’s worth the trouble, that’s one you can only answer if you’ve seen and enjoyed Jackass before; it’s always gelled in a way that its contemporaries have struggled to do, and it remains consistently funny throughout. If Jackass is your (sick) bag, then there’s little this year that will make you laugh as hard or as long.
Why see it at the cinema: For anyone even slightly inhibited, the company of others should allow you to truly enter into the spirit. (And by that, I don’t mean you should urinate on the row in front. Just to be clear.)
Why see it in 3D?: Where else can you expect to see a giant pink dildo being fired out of a cannon straight at your face? IN 3D?
The Score: 9/10