• by Wes Singleton

Jackass Forever - B-

Rated R, 104 minutes

Imagine jacking around with a camera doing stupid shit and then turning that into a immensely popular TV show and movie franchise. That would be the premise of the twenty-plus year old franchise "Jackass," and the latest entry, "Jackass Forever," its first in 12 years and likely the last for Johnny Knoxville and his crazy gang of fearless misfits. It's nothing new - updating some of their classic stunts with some new ones - but it's still laugh-out loud funny, awkward and exceedingly squeamish.


Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine and Oscar-winner Spike Jonze ("Her") created the popular MTV television show in 2000, then it spawned a series of films, all of which have become big hits, and Knoxville's "Bad Grandpa" was even nominated for an Oscar for make-up and hairstyling. Go figure. One thing about the uber-charming Knoxville and company, they know their formula and stick to it, so don't expect many big surprises. They know their audience isn't coming to see "War & Peace" or some drab rom-com: they're here for the gross-out gags and outrageous stunts they've become known for, and "Jackass Forever" is once again filled with those, including an unforgettable, hilarious opening scene that defies explanation.


Almost all of the gang, save for Bam Margera, who was fired from the film for substance abuse (he still appears in one scene), and Ryan Dunn, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2011, are back again for this installment, including the ever popular Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Dave England, Ehren "Danger" McGhehey (Danger Ehren), Preston Lacy along with newcomers Jasper Dolphin, Jasper's dad Compton "Darkshark" Wilson, Sean "Poopies" McInerney, Zach Wilson, Erik Manaka and Rachel Wolfson, with special appearances by Eric Andre, Tony Hawk and even Machine Gun Kelly. For "Jackass" enthusiasts: this isn't the best film in the series (that would be 2 or 3), but you'll still have fun.


"Jackass" has preoccupied with penises for over 20 years now, mainly hitting, jumping, smashing and getting them bit by lots of various critters. Poor Danger Ehren, he's in several dangerous sequences in which his privates and other body parts are bloodied and bruised. Also, at the end of the scene with the bear, seen in the trailers, he seems genuinely and understandably shaken. Come to think of it, all of the cast end up with bruises and wounds, including Knoxville himself, who is seriously injured in recreating a stunt with a bull and who also supposedly suffered brain damage. Knoxville is also shot out of a cannon, Steve-O has his farts explode (literally, via a special machine), the triple wedgie stunt is recreated, and in one of the most squeamish scenes, England is doused in pig semen, but not before Pontius can gulp some of it down.


If you can't get enough of the fun, as with the other films, there's a follow-up film, "Jackass 4.5" with even more stunts, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. Knoxville says this is the last "Jackass" film, as he and his cohorts are seemingly aging themselves out (and they'll likely pay the price later on for it) of the dangerous stunts, which still come with the big warning labels that bookend the film. The unsurprisingly bawdy, entertaining "Jackass Forever," isn't for everyone, but I give them credit: they're still fearless and seemingly enjoy working together, their camaraderie feels genuine. I wouldn't be surprised to see "Jackass: The Next Generation" with a whole new cast if this one does well.