Monday, October 18, 2010

"Jackass 3D"

Jackass 3D - Directed by Jeff Tremaine, starring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, and Chris Pontius - Rated R

The Kurgan enjoys laughing at the pain of others...and the vomit and feces of others...

First off, I must commend Jackass 3D for containing a truly great introduction. The film opens with MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead” explaining the use of 3-D to the audience. As a longtime fan of that show, I absolutely loved seeing the duo in action again, if only for a short while. That’s cool and all, but it’s also very fitting; who better than the original morons of MTV to introduce the idiots of Jackass?

Let’s save some time. At this point, you know if you’re the intended audience for a Jackass movie. There’s no narrative structure to these movies, they are simply collections of skits involving grown men perform idiotic and juvenile stunts. There really isn’t a critical approach to take with these films individually, but there’s something to be said about the general idea behind Jackass, especially since this is the first film in the series to come out since I started reviewing movies. And there’s also the quality of the 3-D to evaluate, along with how the stunts compare to the rest of the franchise.

Those who don’t like the humor of Jackass usually label the series as stupid and/or gross. Those who enjoy it, like me, admit that the stunts performed are stupid and/or gross, but that’s okay because it’s hilarious. True, it takes an immature sense of humor to find most of this stuff funny, but that’s the appeal of it all. It’s fun to watch a group of men act like boys because they’re doing all the stunts I’m not brave or stupid enough to try myself. Sure, not all of it is great, and some of it is downright sickening, but the majority of Jackass 3D is a great time.

The main difference with this new installment is the use of 3-D. The film was actually shot in 3-D so it ended up looking pretty great. Surprisingly, the movie shies away from the “in your face” 3-D gags (though there are a few well-placed shots) and sticks with the technology to add depth perception. I thought this worked out for the better as it places you in each skit. The point of 3-D is to place the viewer in the film and that is how it is used in Jackass.

It’s important to feel like you’re part of the movie, especially when there are moments of such extreme pain going on onscreen. It’s never surprised me that Jackass has been able to provide laughs and even gags at times, but it’s ability to make me cringe is unmatched. (To this day, I have to look away when I see the paper cut segment from the first movie.) I have found that pain the viewer can identify with is the most visceral. With that said, the “bee tetherball” skit had me gritting my teeth and I think the 3-D made the experience all the more painful to watch.

Cringing during a movie usually is not a good thing, but “Jackass” has always been more of an experience than a film. I prefer to laugh, though, and this film delivers. The majority of the skits are funny; the fighter jet segment, the recurring “Rocky” joke, and the “field goal” were among my favorites. I also found most of the disgusting segments funny, but mainly in an “I can’t believe they did that” kind of way.

That brings me to what might make people walk out or throw up during this film. It should come as no surprise, but Jackass 3D is absolutely disgusting at times. I don’t want to attempt to describe any of the gross-out gags in writing, just be aware that anything you’ve seen before is amped up a bit. If you’re watching a third Jackass movie, though, you’re surely expecting this.

As you can tell, I felt that this film is a worthy entry in the series. I don’t want to call it the best or the worst because I don’t classify these movies in that way. Jackass has always seemed liked a constant event that the cameras return to every few years. It’s just great to see this group of guys together and having fun again. This film features some of the funniest things they’ve ever done and it contains the usual hilarious banter among the men.

Jackass 3D has the feeling of a reunion between old friends. The 3-D helps you feel like you’re part of it and it’s an enjoyable experience. My only disappointment is that they forgot to invite Party Boy, but there’s always next time…I hope.

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