Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and nearly all of your favorite Jackasses return with a new class of characters, but not much new in the tank.
By Sean Blanford
It’s tough to keep a franchise interesting for over twenty years in the entertainment industry. Television shows like The Simpsons, South Park, and even Saturday Night Live have had their dry patches but have die-hard fans that cling to nostalgia. Rather than judging a show or film franchise based on quality, you view it with rose-tinted glasses because of how it made you feel at the time. The Jackass television series only aired on MTV for three seasons, but the legacy that Johnny Knoxville and his band of merry misfits created spawned four feature films, spin-off series, and a new generation inspired by the original crew.
The series works best in the short-form because you get in a few bits, nothing feels dry or uninspired, and you’re done in less than thirty minutes. Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns slowly leaves the well dry with each passing film. In Jackass Forever, the first film since 2010’s Jackass 3D, over forty different bits, pranks, and stunts are packed into a movie that is just shy of 100-minutes, including credits. While the film starts strong, with the entire team acting out a Godzilla-like kaiju battle with the monster being formed by Chris Pontius’ genitals, we slowly get introduced to a new cast of characters along with celebrity appearances from the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Tyler the Creator, Eric Andre, and UFC Heavyweight Francis Ngannou, a man known for having the most brutal punch in the world. I’ll give you one guess where we see Ngannou punch Danger Ehren.
Over time, these repeating bits of crotch shots and other more brutal types of bodily harm become a problem with the film. I am by no means a prude, but does anyone really need to see a man crap himself? I will wholeheartedly admit that, yes, there are some funny moments, but they become few and far between as the film goes on. Unfortunately, the marketing of the Jackass Forever did the film no favors, as many of the strongest scenes were in the film’s trailer, leaving not much left in terms of genuine surprises. That being said, I did laugh out loud at several scenes. One, in particular, involved an airbag-filled game of musical chairs that was the highlight of the entire movie.
Many fans of the film will see Jackass Forever as a form of escape, and for the most part, it works. You can tell that the cast is invested in not only putting everything on the line for our entertainment but in making sure that the legacy of the Jackass name potentially lives on once the old guard decides to hang up their jock straps once and for all. If this franchise moves on with this second generation of talent, I hope they will find a way to breathe new life into future installments. But, for now, Jackass Forever is a fitting way to say goodbye once and for all.
Grade: 2.75/5 (C+)