THE MOVIE (2002)
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Despite justified critiques that they're moving further and further away from their music-oriented roots, MTV's programming has always been able to get people talking. For the longest time, Mike Judge's Beavis & Butt-Head was arguably the most controversial show ever aired on the network. It was reviled by critics and PTA groups, and censors even refused to allow the titular characters to say the word "fire" unless it was within a particular context (though there was a very good reason for that). But on April 12, 2000, MTV unleashed a show far more controversial than Beavis & Butt-Head ever hoped to be. In spite of protests from parental watchdog groups and Senator Joseph Lieberman, Jackass became one of the most memorable and popular shows in MTV's history. Merely half-hour compilations of a gang of idiots doing insane and embarrassing things for nobody's pleasure but their own, Jackass arguably drew just as much (if not more) vitriol and derision from the parental watchdogs in a mere twenty-five episodes than Beavis & Butt-Head did in almost 200. When the show's creators called it quits, they decided to say farewell with in an extreme way: they took their show to the big screen, without the burden of bleeps and blurs. If you've ever wondered why Hollywood is occasionally called "Hollyweird," watch Jackass: The Movie. How many movies do you know of that start with a "don't try this at home" warning?
Usually, I'd do a plot synopsis at this point. But there's no plot to speak of, because it's just an 84-minute uncensored version of the Jackass TV show. If you've seen the show, you know what I mean. The movie opens with the movie's primary participants Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Jason "Wee Man" Acuņa, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Dave England, and Ehren McGhehey riding in a gigantic shopping cart, set to Carl Orff's "O Fortuna." The cast is introduced, a giraffe runs by for no reason, and the Jackasses crash into a fruit stand. We hear the familiar opening twang of the TV show's theme song ("Corona" by The Minutemen), and thus begins a descent into the insane, the bizarre, and the disgusting.
Keep in mind this is a funny yet filthy movie based on a funny yet filthy TV show. There's plenty of male nudity to keep the ladies entertained, lots of unbleeped profanities so those with Tourette's syndrome don't feel lonely, and enough silly behavior for drunken frat guys to imitate if they get bored late one night. There's even vomit, for you sick freaks that enjoy that (and if you do, seek help now). There's also cameos from somewhat famous people too; Henry Rollins, Butterbean, Rip Taylor, BMX star Mat Hoffman, and pro skateboarders Tony Hawk, Eric Koston, and Clyde Singleton all appear somewhere in the movie.
Despite the movie's reputation of being "too wild for TV," most of the skits would have been just fine to air on MTV. Sure, the nudity and profanities wouldn't have passed FCC regulations, but with some creative editing, most of the movie could have easily been on television instead of movie theaters. In some segments, the jokes wear themselves out (such as Steve-O firing bottle rockets from his rectum), or just aren't funny at all (such as the muscle stimulators and the BMX tug-of-war). I guess it was like that so audiences could calm down and catch their breath from prior, funnier scenes (or quit puking following the gross scenes). They did that with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie, so I assume that's what they did here, too. It could happen, couldn't it? Overall, I'd say Jackass: The Movie is good for three stars. It's got some really hilarious moments, but mucho crap (literally and physically) bogs it down. And just as a note, watch all the way through the credits. You'll thank me later.
Final Rating: ***