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JACKASS THE MOVIE (article first published : 2003-05-17)

You’ll probably cringe and shake your head a lot. You'll also peep through your fingers while gasping. And you'll be grossed-out now and then. And, provided you buy into the wild, infantile madness, you will be sure to smile and laugh.

But, like or loathe it, there can be no denying you will remember Jackass The Movie, the hit, big-screen variation of the popular late-night MTV series in which men who should know a lot better, hurt and humiliate themselves and each other in the name of humour and entertainment.

Like a deranged cross between extreme sports, Candid Camera and Fear Factor, the 85-minute film directed by Jeff Tremaine features a series of outlandish, puerile, novel and dangerous sketches. All highlight amiable former American skateboarder Johnny Knoxville and his kooky team of skateboarder pals and assorted oddballs, who try to out-do themselves from one moment to the next.

Here you'll see such absurdities as wasabi being snorted like cocaine, leading to a man vomiting on to a plate of sushi. You'll wince as another man sticks a toy car up his rectum, then visits a doctor, who is led to believe his new patient has no clue as to what is causing him to feel pain in the rear.

You'll see sky rockets fired from a man's buttocks. You'll see muscle-contracting electrodes attached to a man's groin. And you'll see someone walking a tightrope across hungry alligators, while scraps of meat dangle from his g-string, getting the 'gators snap happy.

And a sketch carrying the caption Yellow Ice-Cream Cone will probably have you putting your hand to your mouth as you cringe.

Also designed to make you squirm is the routine in which Knoxville allows his buddies to make paper cuts in the webbed area between his fingers and toes, while a pal allows someone to deliver a paper cut to the corners of his mouth. Ouch!

On the less painful side we have Knoxville hiring a car, wrecking it in a demolition derby, then returning it, straight-faced, to the dealer. Also awkwardly amusing, if decidely off-colour, is the sketch involving one of the team defecating into a display toilet in a hardware store.

On the screwball side we have the team skateboarding and causing havoc on busy Japanese streets, while a sequence involving the blowing of a hooter whenever golfers raise their clubs is great fun.

It has to be recorded that Jackass the Movie has no cinematic merit whatsoever. And it should be noted that it will be sure to greatly offend the sensitive, the sophisticated and the squeamish, all of whom should give it a very, very wide berth.

But fans of the TV series, who will know what to expect, will be impressed. And, frankly, anyone allowing themselves to put down their guard and accept the sheer novel audacity and surreal invention of it all will probably have to admit to finding it all bizarrely watchable. 7/10 – Billy Suter.




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