Jackass Forever (2022) ☆☆☆(3/4): They surely rise below vulgarity

“Jackass Forever” made me wince and cringe more than once for good reasons. The film is basically a series of vulgar and outrageous stunts to make your eyes roll, but they are presented with a considerable amount of wit, cheer, spirit, and boldness, and you may become a bit curious about how they prepared and executed many of those numerous silly stunts in the film.

I must confess that I have never seen any of the previous Jackass flicks except “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (2013), but, like many of you, I am familiar with their basic concept. Johnny Knoxville, whom I came to notice via his colorful supporting turn in Kim Jee-woon’s “The Last Stand” (2013), and his merry bunch of goofballs boldly attempt one silly but risky thing after another just for making us laugh and chuckle hard, and their loony dedication may be appreciated by Donald O’Connor’s character in “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). As far as I can see from the film, they look like really caring about not only having a fun with themselves but also giving us enough entertainment, and even their naughtiest comic attempt in the film comes to us as a sweet guilty pleasure.

What will follow next in this review is more or less than the flat description of some of more hilarious moments in the film, so I advise you not to read further if you are already determined to watch the film, though you probably know well how far Knoxville and his colleagues will go for laugh. For example, the prologue presents a wild and crazy fantasy moment featuring a big puppet monster which looks like a certain male body part, and this deliberately vulgar moment will not disappoint you when this vulgar monster eventually comes to have a massive moment of ejaculation.

As shown from this scene, Knoxville and his colleagues are inclined to do many raunchy stunts involved with that male body part, and I must admit that some of them made me chuckle a lot with disbelief and amusement. As far as I remember, the film shows that male body part as much as your average gay porn, and my personal favorite moment comes from when one of Knoxville’s does a rather risky stunt on that body part of his. All he has to do is having a queen bee on that body part of his, and what happens next looks more grueling than whatever Tony Todd had to go through for his iconic role in “Candyman” (1992).

And that is just a tip of what many of Knoxville’s colleagues have to endure for our laughs. In case of one scene, they invite a heavyweight mixed martial artist, and this big dude is surely ready to throw a hard punch at the groin of one of Knoxville’s colleagues. That colleague of Knoxville wears a protective cup on the groin just in case, but, boy, what he has to endure is not so recommendable to say the least.

After that, the movie continues to show more of male groins getting hit in one way or another. We see a softball player throwing a ball very hard at a male groin, and then we behold a hockey puck flown right into the middle of some other male groin. This is surely mean and naughty to say the least, but Knoxville and his colleagues are always ready for going further despite no matter how painful those stunts really are to them. Paraphrasing what Mel Brooks once said, their stunts rise below vulgarity.

My another favorite moment in the film involves with the brief appearance of the titular character of “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”. Like in that film, Knoxville disguises himself as an old grandpa in a fairly convincing makeup (Can you believe that “Jackass Present: Bad Grandpa” was actually nominated for Best Makeup Oscar at that time?), and then he executes a very shocking prank just for surprising several innocent bystanders who happen to be around him. These bystanders are certainly stunned as expected, but then they cannot help but amazed by how much they were surprised.

Not so surprisingly, all those stunts executed by Knoxville and his colleagues are not always as safe and successful as they planned. At one point, they dress up as marching band members and then attempt to walk right across an operating treadmill. This surely hurts, but one of them turns out to be seriously injured, so we soon see him sent to a hospital for his treatment. When Knoxville later tries to do one of his old stunts again, he gets himself injured much more than expected, but he remains cheerful as usual despite the concerns from others around him.

In case of the big finale for the film featuring one big merry-go-around, this part happens to remind me of an old terrible childhood memory of mine. I became quite sick after spending too much time on a merry-go-around, and I was subsequently on bed for more than one day (That is why I am still averse to any merry-go-around, by the way). Nevertheless, I laughed again despite lots of vomits decorating the screen, and, to some degree, I came to admire more of how Knoxville and his colleagues really try anything funny for us – and them.

Directed by Jeff Tremaine, “Jackass Forever” is not exactly a piece of art, but it takes me back to what critic Pauline Kael once said: “The movies are so rarely great art, that if we can’t appreciate great trash, there is little reason for us to go.” The movie is indeed a trashy stuff with lots of vulgarities, but it is presented well with enough sense of naughty fun and entertainment at least, so I recommend it with some giggling.

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