When cinephiles sit around talking, one topic that comes up for discussion is, “Name a sequel that is just as good if not better than the original.” Titles usually mentioned are Godfather Part II, The Road Warrior, Aliens, Toy Story 2, but now a new entry can be added to the list: Jackass: Number Two.
Johnny Knoxville and the gang are back, minus Chris Raab, and make the original look like Driving Miss Daisy as they surpass the previous movie’s level of danger and depravity. If you are already a fan, you won’t be disappointed because they outdo themselves, illustrating the limits the human body can endure and the depths of stupidity the human mind can sink.
Jackass: Number Two opens with a nod to the previous film as the gang runs out of a cloud a smoke. Soon, it is revealed they are taking part in an encierro, or a running of the bulls. What’s amazing, though it shouldn’t be anymore, is that some appear to want to get trampled just to see what it would be like. The film then proceeds to unleash a series of adventures and practical jokes, some of which involve beer enemas, ejaculating horses, pubic hair beards, and you just know you can’t have a movie cleverly titled Number Two and not have poop in it. With all the animals, stunts, and intentional abuse they self-inflict, it is astounding no one has been paralyzed or killed. A great bit would be a straightforward discussion regarding insurance coverage with an agent.
I really was flabbergasted by what I saw, certainly unimaginable to my way of thinking. My brain chose laughter as a natural defense mechanism because it couldn’t comprehend the insanity unveiled before it, and to be honest, I haven’t laughed so hard so often with so many people in a long while. I’m glad I didn’t get drunk beforehand because I almost threw up of a couple of times. One time was during the Fart Mask scene, although it had nothing to do with participant/victim Steve-O vomiting.
Some people get upset about children seeing this and copycatting what they see on the screen. Considering the improvements in medicine, we do need some way to thin out the herd, and let’s be honest, it’s not like we’re talking about the higher percentiles on the SAT. If someone recreates a stunt they see or one of equal ingenuity and fails fatally, the gene pool will only benefit.
All the high-falutin’ critics are galled and disgusted as they look down their refined noses. Do I wish the multiplexes were full of thought-provoking, critically acclaimed classics by the likes of directors Kubrick, Kurasawa, and Bergman resulting in discussions of art, philosophy, and improving the planet? Absolutely, but if I’m going to live in a dream world, I am going to pick one that satiates other desires. As long as guys have access to video cameras and alcohol, this genre will not go away, and this type of activity is certainly nothing new. Young men have always attempted to exceed their limitations by pushing past the boundaries of common sense – from Icarus flying higher than his father told him to intoxicated members of the 1985 graduating class of Westminster High School cracking assorted nuts open with their foreheads on Senior Ditch Day.
To be fair, I absolutely agree with some critics who wonder what the hell would have had to occur in Jackass: Number Two to earn an NC-17 because I was shocked by what I was seeing in the theatre. And I’m not talking about on the screen. At the Saturday late show, a number of people brought their young children, boggling my mind more than Bam having an outline of men’s genitalia branded onto his ass. These “parents” should have their children taken away by protective services because there’s no telling what these kids are witness to in their homes.