Jackass: Number Two

4 stars


15th October 2006

Bam Margera is not happy. He's just been beaten up, mauled, bitten and had several nasty looking skateboarding spills, and to top it all, the rest of his so-called 'friends' just trapped him in a wind tunnel with a King Cobra. "Please God, don't let there be a Jackass 3," he prays, and it's not hard to see why; the only way Bam and his 'dumb little buddies' could top this is by killing themselves. Self-mutilation has become so passé - every chancer with a MySpace page or a YouTube account can post a video of themselves taking nutshots and faceplants - but from the opening warning onwards, it's comforting to see the idiots who invented the genre return to our screens with their latest menagerie of stunts, pranks and homoerotic hi-jinx. You'll laugh, you'll wince, you'll hurl and you'll quite possibly try to do all three at once.

The thing that separates the Jackass crew from the rest of the wannabes - we're looking at you, Dirty Sanchez - is the twisted imagination that goes into each and every piece. While others might get their kicks being as disgusting as humanly possible and delving new depths of depravity, the Jackass boys make sure their stunts are designed to generate as much laughter as possible. The biggest influence on Number Two seems to be the cartoon violence of Tex Avery and Tom & Jerry; indeed, many of the stunts wouldn't seem out of place in a Road Runner cartoon. They've got that deadly combination of a large budget and a deathwish needed to create huge living homages to the lunacy of Looney Toons. What's more appealing to watch; a Welshman chop off the end of his little finger, or Johnny Knoxville dressed up in an Evil Knievel jumpsuit, clinging onto a giant Acme-esque rocket as it blasts 60 feet into the air?

Knoxville again leads from the front, leaving the gross and puerile skits to the lesser members of the group, saving the grandiose, Wile E. Coyote type stunts for himself. His appeal is not the fact he's particularly better at taking hits than the rest, rather the fact it's fantastic fun watching a bona fide movie star subject himself to such feats of physical insanity. One great scene sees Johnny line up in front of a projectile device used by police for subduing riotous crowds, taking several high-speed ball-bearings to the body. While others lay understandably wounded on the ground, Knoxville simply stands, frames his face with his hands, smiles and asks, "Is this okay? Then we're okay!" and exits stage left. With that nervous laugh of his, you'd forgive him anything.

There's almost too many inspired stunts to mention - to merely describe some of them would be to ruin them - but anyone worried that ideas would be running low need not fret; some of the stunts here are nothing short of genius. Examples: Margera sits atop a Test Your Strength machine, which sends a golden dildo rocketing up his ass when hit. Several crew members are trapped in a limo while bees are poured through the sun-roof (and steel marbles are placed outside the doors). Steve-O greedily gulps down a can of beer with his anus, while the rest of his cohorts crowd around cheering 'Chug! Chug! Chug!' Chris Pontius dresses his penis up in a mouse costume and places it through a hole into a glass case containing a hungry snake. I could go on, but I won't; just rest assured, the quality rarely dips. There are a couple of clips that go a little over the top - Pontius drinking horse semen is about as foul as it gets - and one clip, in which Ehren McGhehey dresses up as a terrorist (complete with a dynamite belt strapped round his waist) just doesn't work. But hey, this isn't high art, this is retards whaling on each other for our viewing pleasure - the least you can do is show a little respect.

I just don't understand how some people can fail to find Jackass funny. Taking joy in other people's misfortune is a basic-level human response, the same mechanism that sees you laugh at someone falling off a chair or slipping on a banana skin, but obviously this is taken to a much higher (lower?) level. Of course it's not going to be for everyone - if you didn't like the first movie, surprise surprise, this one is more of the same - but it's an absolute goldmine for fans of the series and still manages to feel fresh after six years. Take the moral high ground if you prefer, but you're missing out on a good solid hour and a half of gut-busting laughs, nothing more and nothing less. Jackass 3, then? Sorry Bam, but it looks like you're not out of the woods yet.

More:  Comedy  Morons  Sequels
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