The children are back
Older, but not necessarily wiser, Johnny Knoxville and the merry band of crackpots who’ve been with him since the early 2000s continue to pull off insane stunts, come up with absurd gags, get naked and hurt yourself just for laughs.
From the opening and their parody of Godzilla with pyrotechnic effects, extras and penises and testicles by Chris Pontius made up and filmed in close-up to embody the kaiju, the note of intent is clear: even at more or less fifty years old, the Jackass have lost none of the immature, irreverent and irresponsible spirit that made them a cultural and generational phenomenon. And they now have a substantial budget to stage their escapades.
Hang on, it’s gonna hurt
This fourth film doesn’t try to reinvent anything or offer anything new. It’s just about doing again sketches involving silly ideas, physical and/or psychological torture, nudity and some dangerous animalslike snakes or a brown bear. With perhaps less vomit and organic excrement than in previous films, but still a lot of screaming, bad taste and humor (for those who find it funny anyway).
In addition to the regressive pleasure, there is another emotion in watching Johnny Knoxville, Wee Man, Dave England, Preston Lacy and Steve-O with a few gray hairs, more wrinkles and less teeth, always determined to hurt themselves to find an outlet and amuse the gallery. Jackass became Jackass for yelling, swearing, blowing up, and hair clippers from behind, but also for laughing, hugging, and this scent of camaraderie that emerges between that of farts and bodily fluids.
In joy and good humor, except the one who knows nothing
Despite the years, the bullshit that unites them has remained pure, intact, and it is for this sincerity, this tenderness, that Fooled forever is more touching than funny compared to other movies. Seeing these nice graying cretins brings back the time spent following their exploits and provides sweet nostalgia.
Nostalgia a little more reinforced by the fact that they have fun taking over several sketches from the first hours to propose an improved versionlike the explosion of a fart under water with a box instead of a simple bathtub and a lighter or the jump in a brief, but in threes and with pulleys.
Ignition in 3…2…1…
However, even if the whole team deploys greater resources for this new opus and puts all its heart into the work, the fact remains that twenty years have passed and that a lot of things have changed : Ryan Dunn, one of the daredevils of the band to whom the film is dedicated, died in a car accident in 2011 (Johnny Knoxville had also declared afterwards that there would be no more film without him ). Bam Margera, another emeritus member of Jackass, was fired from filming by Paramount because of his excesses due to alcohol and drugs and is now attacking the studio and his former comrades in court.
Right in the roustons
In order to replace them and bring in new blood, the team welcomed a whole bunch of new members : Zach Holmes, a burly guy who doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything; surfer Sean McInerney, nicknamed “Poopies”; former Odd Future rapper Jasper Dolphin, whose father, an ex-con nicknamed Darkshark, suffers bad tricks; Eric Manaka, the first Englishman on the team, but also Rachel Wolfson, the first woman to join the troupe.
new recruits fed to Donkey and proud to find themselves next to those they looked up to as younger idols, just like Eric André, Machine Gun Kelly, Tyler The Creator and the other guests.
Unfortunately, if these young newcomers take care of the most physical stunts, when it is necessary to throw themselves into cacti or surf a giant toboggan to land in the ground, their presence does not manage to make up for the absence of the old ones. LTheir performances seem less remarkable than what the 50-year-olds of the original Jackass team are doing. The revival of old stunts and certain sketches even illustrates a lack of inventiveness and a kind of exhaustion, which is reflected in the atmosphere of the film and on the bodies of the elders.
Grandpa Knoxville and the next generation
Fooled forever especially lacks this mad anarchy that defined the first videos and the previous films, this authenticity that triggered spontaneous laughter and provided a strange catharsis when the victim eventually got up.
Now, when Johnny Knoxville remains unconscious for several minutes after being hit by a bull trying to reproduce his famous stunt of the time, the worry is clearly visible on the faces and he was immediately taken to the hospital. Result: wrist fracture, a broken rib and a concussion. It won’t be for this time yet, but time passes quickly, too quickly, and that’s exactly what Fooled forever. With lots of bullshit around.
Jackass Forever is available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in France since April 6, 2022