Dir: Jeff Tremaine
Jackass: The Movie (2002)Hard though it may be to contemplate, Jackass: The Movie is a real first – the first real multiplex (as opposed to arthouse) film that is entirely non-narrative. Now while it could be argued that there are plenty of “no brain” flicks out there they do at least make some concession to plot or structure. Not so in the anarchic f-you world of the Jackass boys. The whole raison d’etre of the film is to provide a series of sketches that range from the stupid to the just plain vile and that’s it. No moral agenda, no apologies and just like the TV series, only without the bleeps and the optical blurring of any “naughty bits”. It also marks a film that is clearly marketed at its teenage demographic – who are the very people who are not allowed to see the film here in the UK (it’s going to be a cinema manager’s nightmare folks!) where it has been given an 18 certificate by the BBFC.
So amidst the hype, the media cries of anguish at the lowering of standards and the film’s “unexpected” (apparently!) high box-office performance in the US the question remains: is it any good? The answer is an unequivocal no but, before you turn your eyes away in disgust at some old fuddy-duddy reviewer who is clearly out of touch with it all let’s expand on that. As a film Jackass is poor (impressive post credit ending aside) and even wears its crude DIY aesthetic with pride. But really: why do people go to the cinema? The answer is, generally, to be entertained and in this respect Jackass goes out of its way to provide a constant stream of “money-shots” unburdened by such yawn-inducing matters as character development. Whether you find bungee wedgies, having a tattoo done while bouncing around in an off-road car, someone eating a snow-cone doused in their own urine or dangling over a pool of hungry alligators wearing only underpants and two dead chickens funny or not is entirely down to personal choice. Crude: yes. Funny: yes. If there is one sour note (and it affected the TV series too) it is the team’s rampant and unpalatable xenophobia that manifests itself here in their Japanese excursion (the TV show’s trip through Eastern Europe was similarly blighted) but other than that gross reality entertainment for the strong of stomach and unoffendable.