They do what they do best – still! And so we can watch the crew around Johnny Knoxville in 2022 as well JACKASS FOREVER try out crazy stunts and endure tests of courage. The result is surprisingly funny, but also extremely questionable in places. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Jackass Forever (USA 2022)
That’s what it’s about
Johnny Knoxville and his crew are back! Has it really been ten years since the masochistic daredevils entertained us excellently in an almost traumatizing way with their stunts, pranks and tests of courage that bordered on self-destruction? See for yourself that you can still rely on the “Jackass” stars when it comes to mistreating yourself and your fellow sufferers. Are you looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush?
Actually, the original concept of the “Jackass” crew, which debuted on MTV for the first time, seems outdated today. The reason: the Internet. More precisely: the opportunities created by the Internet to share similar (and perhaps even more blatant than back then) ideas with the whole world without convincing a TV station to broadcast them. But the mere fact that a film spin-off like “Jackass Forever” is now coming to cinemas 22 (!) years after the original series was first broadcast and people are still willing to spend money to see something that they actually like could have for free shows: The “Jackass” stunts were only partly about the sometimes brutal injuries and pain that the gang around Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and Co. had to suffer, but rather about the guys themselves. That’s probably the main reason why “Jackass Forver” was highly praised in the USA, even by critics who are usually known for their critical voices. And even if we can’t fully get into this heady feedback, we have to admit: this concept is far from outdated!
The “Jackass” crew reunited…
At first glance, the intro to “Jackass Forever” suggests something terrible, although the 12 years after their last film “Jackass 3” (or nine years after the spin-off “Jackass: Bad Grandpa”) have apparently ensured that with The somewhat higher-quality amateur video style of yore is now over and the boys and, for the first time, girls have preferred to switch to high-gloss action cinema. But appearances are deceptive: the prologue – a homage to the monster action films à la “Godzilla” that have long since reached the mainstream – turns out to be something completely different than you first imagine. Just this much: For the first (and far from the last!) time, a penis will play a major role in one of the stunts. Every now and then the creators allow themselves technical gadgets in order to reveal who or what they were just watching in a kind of “aha” effect towards the end of the sketch. Keyword: punching bag. That’s why we won’t go into these scenes in more detail at this point, because the twist moment is surprisingly effective and is undoubtedly one of the best scenes in the film. Also because the artistic demands shine through here more than ever. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that director Spike Jonze (yes, the Spike Jonze!) is back in the producer role.
“Every now and then the creators allow themselves technical gimmicks in order to reveal who or what they were just watching in a kind of ‘aha’ effect towards the end of the sketch. Keyword: punching bag.”
Or the reason is simply that in its earliest phase, “Jackass” was all about constantly exploring new taste boundaries and thereby entertaining and provoking the audience in equal measure. Instead, it quickly became a respectable success because of the sheer creativity that Knoxville and Co. showed in their stunts. And probably the most important ingredient in this secret recipe: the amazing chemistry within the group. Original member Bam Margera was completely cut from the finished film due to drug problems except for one scene, but otherwise there is a reunion with all the familiar faces as well as some new additions. Among them, for the first time, is a woman: the comedienne Rachel Wolfson, who is still largely unknown in this country and who, in her debut, proves herself to be at least as pain-free – in the truest sense of the word – as her male colleagues. All of these faces – from Johnny Knoxville to Steve-O, Chris Pontius and Dave England to guest stars like Machine Gun Kelly – derive their entertainment value, and therefore that of the film as a whole, not (anymore) primarily from the action escapades, but rather from their reactions as a result of this. In comparison to previous films, the looks behind the scenes, in which the crew members who are not involved in a stunt observe their colleague suffering, are particularly detailed. And at this point at the latest, even the people in the audience who are less inclined to disgust and gloating will find it difficult not to burst out laughing at some point. Not because of the torment they endured, but as a reaction to how the people on screen love what they’ve been allowed to do for so long, so that the stunned “And this is how we make our money!” vibes hover over everything throughout the entire running time . At just 96 minutes, it’s suitably entertaining anyway.
What went wrong many years ago is repeated in “Jackass Forever”…
Especially in details such as a “Daddy” shirt that Johnny Knoxville proudly displays to underline once again how much time has passed (and also that men of this age, with all sorts of ailments, hardly ever have things like one anymore An unsecured bull attack or a jump into the middle of a cactus plantation if it weren’t for the “Jackass” crew) shows how meticulously and sometimes subtly the makers must have planned the film in advance. But with regard to the bull stunt, the repetition of an originally unsuccessful sketch many, many years ago, by far the biggest point of criticism of “Jackass Forever” comes to the fore: are the boys’ faecal gags and tests of courage above all a personal question taste, the inclusion of various animals turns out to be a completely failed idea. Not only does it cross the line of danger to lock a bound (and ostensibly clueless) Ehren McGhehey alone in a room with a wild bear. Just the sight of the lethargic four-legged friend almost completely thwarts the joy that has been built up to date: this is animal cruelty celebrated for fun. The obligatory “No animals were hurt” note in the credits feels like sheer mockery. The same applies to a scene with a trained vulture, the same excursion into the bull rodeo milieu and skits in which scorpions and snakes are provoked until they finally bite or sting.
“Especially in details such as a ‘Daddy’ shirt that Johnny Knoxville proudly displays to once again underline how much time has passed.”
This bland aftertaste is a shame, especially because the stunts that were achieved using live animals simply wouldn’t have been necessary. “Jackass Forever” would be no less entertaining if the team had omitted the scenes. On the contrary: you would leave the cinema feeling even better than you do now. It is one thing that adults expose themselves to these dangers. Unfortunately, forcing other living beings – whether human or animal – into such situations is no longer even something to smile about.
Conclusion: Most of the time, “Jackass Forever” thrives on the outstanding chemistry within the crew, on the creativity of the stunts and on the passionate madness that is celebrated here. But whenever animals are used, the good mood quickly ends.
“Jackass Forever” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 10, 2022.