Review: ‘Jackass Forever’

Bodily Harm And Bodily Fluids In Surprisingly Nostalgic Sequel

Jackass Forever isn’t one of those movies you can truly review, is it? In the unlikely franchise’s two-decade-long existence I’ve never actually done it, and that’s because I was a late bloomer to the dangerous stunts, ridiculous pranks, and nut-crunching shenanigans of the Jackass crew. I hated the show on MTV, thinking I was too good for something that is so obviously dumb. Then I watched the first movie. Then I immediately watched the second. Boy, was I a conceited moron. Jackass is amazing! As far as diversions from the bullshit of everyday life it doesn’t get any better. As far as making your life look pretty good by comparison to the guy who just got punched in the nuts, it doesn’t get any better. And after all of these years, these guys might have more wrinkles, they might have more grey hair and more brittle bones, but they deliver exactly the kind of humor the world could use more of right now.

Jackass is largely an experience. You either are down with how stupid this shit is or you’re not, and that’s unlikely to ever really change. It’s fitting that Johnny Knoxville and the gang have featured on WWE television recently because I feel like their audiences are the same, and outsiders look at them the same way. To those of us who enjoy them, we get more out of them than an outsider would. Jackass is, ultimately, about friendship because there’s nothing that bonds guys together like a shot to the groin. Or a bee sting to the groin. Or a punch to the groin from the hardest recorded puncher in history.

Look, it’s Jackass. You’re going to see a lot of dong, okay? Beginning with the kaiju-inspired opening, which introduces the returning players: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Wee-Man, Ehren McGhehey, Dave England, and Preston Lacy. But there are a handful of newbies getting in on the fun, with the idea of passing the torch. Hence the title Jackass Forever.

I’m not going to sit here and run down all of the dumb shit these guys do. Some work better than others, but the best are the ones that either go crazily awry or were unexpected. In one, the guys are invited into a room to watch Knoxville maim himself in some way, only to be fooled when the lights go out and in the pitch darkness they are tortured in various, hilarious ways. In another, Ehren thinks he’s going in for a simple lie detector shock test, only to be strapped in a chair, honey and salmon dumped on him, and a hungry bear set loose in the room. Afterward, he looked genuinely pissed, like “I’m gonna fuck someone up” pissed. The infamous Cup Test is back, and poor Ehren (he takes the brunt of it always) gets drilled in the nuts by a softball pitcher, MMA fighter and hardest hitter in the world Francis Ngannou, and again by a slapshot from an NHL player, and finally he has his dick shattered when one of the guys bounces on him with a pogo stick. Not only is Ehren screaming out in pain when the blood starts to flow you can’t help but worry if the old guy is alright.

The same goes for Knoxville, who they joke “is 49” so the concussions should be alright. In a callback to the earliest Jackass, Knoxville gets in the ring with an angry bull and gets reamed, flipping into the air and landing on his head. For that one, Knoxville had to be carried to the hospital in a stretcher. The fact these guys are pushing middle age adds an extra layer of danger to it all, and yeah, you do sort of feel that they sometimes go way past the limit.

On the other hand, the youngsters fail to make much of an impression. Rachel Wolfson, Zach Holmes, Sean “Poopies” Mcinerney, and Jasper engage in some of the tamer stunts, and don’t have the outsized personalities of the original crew. Zach is definitely being primed to be the next Preston Lacy, though, and Poopies…well, he lives up to his name. He’s easily the new England.

Overall, Jackass Forever was a blast of the “turn your stupid brain off’ variety. I don’t know if anyone expects it to live up to the gang’s youthful misadventures, though. There’s definitely a feeling of nostalgia coursing through this one, and a sense that this is truly the end. When we look back at the footage of the Jackass guys from years earlier, I bet most of us wondered if they’d ever get this far or if some stunt gone wrong would finish them off prematurely. Jackass Forever is like a celebration that these guys survived; they made it this far beating themselves up for our enjoyment. It’s a shitty job (literally) but somebody’s got to do it, and if this is the last time Knoxville and the guys do it for us, let’s be thankful they managed to make us laugh for so long.

Jackass Forever is in theaters now.


Jackass Forever
Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.
jackass-foreverJackass Forever is like a celebration that these guys survived; they made it this far beating themselves up for our enjoyment.