Jackass 3D: Jack the lads?

Screen

Jackass 3D
94 mins
Cert:  18
Dir: Jeff Tremaine

3/5 stars.

There has been a weird effort from some highbrow newspapers over the last couple of weeks to intellectualise Jackass. It has been described as a ‘surrealist experiment’, and compared to Dada. I can confirm that this is complete nonsense. Jackass 3D, like the series and movies that preceded it, is based entirely around the idea that a man falling down (or being hit by something, or being tasered) is funny, as are farts and poo. The latest outing of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera and the rest of the gang is nothing more than a series of skits that are crude, juvenile, idiotic… and generally hilarious.

The gang may be getting older (Knoxville is now almost 40) but age has not withered the masochism of these man-children, and they willingly continue throwing themselves into harm’s way for the sake of a laugh. And there are laughs a-plenty. Even the snobbiest person would find themselves hard-pressed to avoid giggling at the sight of a man trying to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey with a real life (and angry) donkey. And you can’t help but be impressed by their pain threshold (if not exactly their bravery). Some of the stunts here, including the self-explanatory ‘Beehive Tetherball’ and ‘Lamborghini Tooth Pull’, are far more wince-inducing than anything in the recent Saw 3D, although you’ll be wincing through tears of laughter. The boys are helped by some new technology, including a nifty high speed camera that allows for slow-motion viewing of someone getting a flying kick to the head, and the 3D makes the viewer feel they’re right there amongst the bodily fluids.

However, like its predecessors, Jackass 3D is rather hit and miss. There’s an unpleasant scene later on, where one member of the crew with a snake phobia is dumped unwillingly into a pit with dozens of the creatures, which feels more like bullying than anything else. And while most of the other skits involving angry animals or people being launched through the air on wheelbarrows are hilarious, the majority of those involving bodily functions (there’s a lot of scenes of people throwing up or pooing where they shouldn’t) are less amusing – ‘Sweat Suit Cocktail’ may indeed make your average audience member feel a need to join in the upchucking themselves, but it’s not particularly funny. That said, ‘Poo Cocktail Supreme’, which sees the ever-insane Steve-O being strapped into a, ahem, fully loaded portaloo and launched skyhigh, is a late highlight.

Jackass 3D is pretty much an extended, slightly more extreme episode of the TV series, and people who disliked it before will find nothing here to change their mind. Fans and those not expecting too much however will come away feeling they’ve got their money’s worth. And, of course, Jackass 3D comes highly recommended by some critics for people who like their Dadaist surrealism. Or people who like watching a grown man in roller-skates get run over by a buffalo.

by Hugo Gordon