I’m a huge fan of “Jackass,” and Johnny Knoxville and crew have been making me laugh until I cried for two decades now. I was excited to see the gang back in action in “Jackass Forever,” a more mature (read: some cast members are either over or pushing 50) version of the dangerous stunts-and-pranks show that spawned a handful of big screen movies. The graphic nudity, crude language, and gag-inducing scenarios are all here, but they feel more like sad and tired retreads than fresh, fun or inventive comedy gold.
Some of the stunts are straight up repeats of older versions of the same thing: getting shot out of a cannon, wedgies from above, drinking dairy products until you puke, fighting a bull, getting kicked / punched / slapped in the testicles, and the old chestnut of taking a poop in an inoperable toilet in a very public setting. All of this is still funny, yes, but I’ve seen it all before.
It’s easy to embrace the return of old favorites like Chris Pontius, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña, Dave England, Preston Lacy, Steve-O, and “Danger” Ehren McGhehey, and director Jeff Tremaine injects some life with younger cast members (Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Rachel Wolfson, Davon “Jasper Dolphin” Wilson, and Zach Holmes) to reintroduce Jackass to a new generation. The new cast is likeable enough, but there will only be one true original.
I did laugh until I cried at three of the more absurd (and dangerous) scenarios which I won’t spoil here, but I was bored a lot of the time. It felt great to hang out with old friends again, but while the film is a little over 90 minutes long, it feels like a 12 hour exercise in strong-stomached stamina.
I never thought I’d say it, but “Jackass” has seen better days, and the gross-out gags have worn out their welcome.