Skits and hi-jinks for ‘shock value’ makes this movie world go round

Jackass: The Movie

Released October 25, 2002

I wasn’t knowing what to expect from Jackass, having never seen the television series, but I was at least anticipating a good time. Thankfully, I have never seen the MTV series from which Jackass the Movie originally developed from.

Having blindly gone into a screening without any realistic expectations of what to find there it quickly dawned on me from the opening sequence that this is not really supposed to be pure or art cinema, far from it. The purpose of this is to entertain in its own way.

So, why is it that I just couldn’t get into the swing of things, into the rhythm of persistent use of downright immature excess?

When classical theme scores are used self-indulgently then I understood it had that nothing is scared underpinning streak. South Park at least tries to insert a moral into its gross relativity, which isn’t saying much about South Park, however.

Jackass is a succession of stunts and pranks intended to titillate the strangely wild in us as well as, paradoxically, appeal to our natural sense of righteousness when we know what these guys are doing is against all common propriety. It’s weird, but you can laugh while at the same time assert the injustice of certain scenes.

The two guys in front of me helped me see the lighter side of the barrage of physicality in all its raw brute nudity and expression, from mutilating bodies and celebrating natural functions, but when it came to making fun of Asians and the elderly, you must pause and thick twice. These viewers never missed cues to laugh-out-loud, so let’s put this down to Jackass being light stress relief.

In all good taste, however, this cannot be enjoyed. Rather, this movie is an embarrassment. Hardly incredibly brave, but instead incredibly gung-ho, this group of giggling guys have a mission which is self-defeating.

From time-to-time Jackass delights in people’s misfortunes and the public display of humiliating others in the guise of entertainment, and the public showing of what looks like a frat boy’s home video, with appropriately shoddy production values, should be kept in the attic.


MPAA Rating: R (for dangerous, sometimes extremely crude stunts, language, and nudity). Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, Jason ‘Wee-Man’ Acuna, Preston Lacy, Ehern McGehey, Spike Jonze. Director: Jeff Tremaine.


Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers

Published 2022, Talking Writing. Originally published 2002,

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