Updated: Feb 4, 2022
With the pandemic raging and the theater experience changing and seemingly ever under threat, Jackass Forever may just be the movie we need. There are some films that just have to be experienced in a darkened room with a full audience. That communal experience is precious to me and many others and it is why I will always go to the theater to see movies. Jackass Forever more than honors that communal experience. Here is a raunchy, shocking, and hilarious film that just wouldn't be the same without a big audience.
The opening sequence is so bold and so wonderfully and shockingly stupid that it will likely go down as one of the most memorable moments of any film this year. It is a Jackass twist on Godzilla that sears itself into your brain. It will make you laugh uncontrollably. The rest of the film is just as sublimely stupid and wonderful.
You should know by now what the Jackass crew are all about and if you appreciate it as performance art or are repulsed by it. I am both. I find their work brilliant and brave and often disgusting. It is also very funny. Thankfully, the crew felt no pressure here to change up the formula they are known for. They dream up psychotic pranks and stunts and then execute them at such a high level that they remain untouched some 20 years after they started. Sure, they are older now but don't start thinking that they are going soft. Jackass Forever may not up the ante, as each of the first three films did, but it still hits par and that opening is their best yet.
At the center of the madness is Johnny Knoxville. He is the ringmaster for the movie, unafraid to participate in stunts but more often he serves as the leader of the crew. More importantly, Knoxville is the audience's guide. When he laughs, we know we can laugh and that is key to the Jackass magic. Some of the stunts are harrowing and if Knoxville didn't give the audience permission to laugh, it would painful to sit through them.
Much of the original crew is here, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Danger Ehren, Dave England, Preston Lacy and Jason "Wee-Man" Acuńa. The film adds some young new blood to the mix including YouTuber Zach Holmes, comedian Rachel Wolfsen, Eric Manaka, Jasper from the Odd Future crew, and pro-surfer Sean "Poopies" McInerney. There are also three key guest stars that include Tyler, the Creator, Eric Andre and Machine Gun Kelley. Tyler and Andre are clear extensions of Jackass's influence and it is fun to see them included. The new crew all have great moments but it is their collective enthusiasm for getting to be a part of the film that becomes infectious.
I haven't even talked about the stunts and pranks at this point because I don't want to spoil anything. I encourage you, if you are a fan of these films, to go experience it opening weekend. Jackass Forever reminded me of why I love seeing movies with people in a theater. The joy of hearing people scream and gasp at the insanity on screen is something I am deeply grateful for. Cheers to the Jackass crew!