'Jackass Forever' Is Oddly Beautiful

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Danger Ehren and Preston Lacy

BY Andres GuzmanPublished Feb 3, 2022

Sometimes, things never change — and in the case of the Jackass gang, that's a great thing. With these guys, it's pretty much of a case of, "If you've seen one, you've seen them all."

In Jackass Forever, we are brought back to a group of friends who have been hurting themselves for our — and their own — amusement for the past 20 years. Those who have grown up watching these films will be happy to return to watch these loveable fools continuing to make the same mistakes — and even make some new ones.

Most of the original crew has returned, including even everyone's favourite camera operator Lance Bangs. Those who have followed Johnny Knoxville and the crew will notice that this film only has one scene in which Bam Margera is briefly featured, as he was fired from the movie and then hit with a restraining order by director Jeff Tremaine. While Bam is missed, six new members join the Jackass crew to carry the torch. Their energy is the shot of adrenaline the film didn't need, but it sure helps.

The new team seems to be people like myself, who grew up watching the show and films. Out of all of them, it feels like Jasper Dolphin is the one who's been the most inspired by the Jackass franchise. During his time in the rap collective Odd Future, he starred in their show Loiter Squad, which sometimes felt like the spiritual child of both Jackass and The Eric Andre Show. Jasper runs into scenes with such enthusiasm that he sometimes outshines the original cast members, who are now around 50 years old. It's these moments, just before and just after the "prank," when the weird magic of these films happens.

There's something stupid and wonderful going on when these friends get together. It's almost as if we're watching them regress and become teenagers again, daring one another to go bigger and dumber, while cheering each other on every step of the way. There's true and honest love between them, which is oddly beautiful at times. Even if you question how anyone could think this is a good idea, the rest of the team has your back. 

Jackass films often feel like an endurance test for the crew and the viewers. How far can they go before they gross each other out, or before they gross the audience out? They push the boundaries of what can be shown on some of the biggest screens possible for absolutely no reason other than shock value and because they can.

These films aren't for the faint of heart; I remember past horror stories about audience members throwing up during screenings, and Jackass Forever feels a bit tamer than past films. Instead of showcasing their bodily functions, this time they opt for more pain. Wee Man has said that this film was the most painful to film — a title that Jackass Forever wins in a landslide, if you can call it winning. 

Jackass Forever is a swift 90-minute movie, as no sequence overstays its welcome. At this point, after so many stunts, they've learned how to get in and out of a moment and when to cut away. Jeff Tremaine, the franchise's main filmmaker, clearly loves every moment he's behind the camera filming this family he helped create. Even when he gets hurt, it's part of the process.

This film isn't going to necessarily convince anyone who isn't a fan to become one, but it might inspire new fans to go back and witness the beginning. When Knoxville was 29, he got friends together to do dumb things that should never be duplicated. Their stunts are often imitated, but nobody has ever been able to capture the odd magic the crew brings on-screen. They've been vulnerable on screen with each other for two decades now. Nobody knows how to prank their brothers better than the guys from Jackass. And that's lovely.
(Paramount Pictures)

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