Movie Review: Jackass 3D
By Matthew Huntley
October 25, 2010
Jackass 3D is the kind of movie that shouldn’t make you laugh but somehow still does. The reason it shouldn’t make you laugh is NOT because it contains unusually high doses of male nudity, feces, vomit, body sweat and ripped off chest hair (these things are inherently funny because we’re conditioned to think they’re gross); the reason is because we can see the jokes coming a mile away, or at least once the scene is set up and the next wacky event introduced. There are no surprises here. I mean, if a guy is standing in his underwear waiting to get hit by a tee ball in the crotch, then he’s going to get hit by a tee ball in the crotch (the scene wouldn’t have made the final cut if he didn’t). He knows it; we know it; that’s the joke. And yet, we still laugh. Why? Why do we laugh at Jackass when it’s so predictable but decry lame feature comedies when their jokes are just as blatant?
Maybe it’s because the Jackass gang, still headed by the audacious (and might I add, courageous) Johnny Knoxville, is fearless and real and it’s their reactions to the things that happen to them that we find funny. Sure, we can imagine how bad a tee ball to the crotch might hurt, but by seeing it happen to them, we’re more certain and it’s funny because we know we’d be feeling the same way if anything like that happened to us. In some bizarre way, we can relate, and situations are always funnier when we can identify with them. Does that mean I want to take a tee ball to the crotch? No, but if I ever did, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone for laughing at me, because I’d probably be laughing at them.
Whatever the reason, Jackass 3D is a fun time at the movies. The nature of the original TV show and previous two movies is nine guys getting together and performing outrageous stunts, however gross, dangerous or, let’s be honest, stupid, and they’re not exactly qualified to do them. As far as the stunts go, some are more interesting and exciting than others, especially the ones that indirectly teach us something new. Perhaps “teach” isn’t the right word, but I liked the events that show me something I’ve only ever imagined, like how powerful a jet engine can be when you sit behind it; or how high in the air you can be tossed when lying on the other end of an inflatable raft and two guys jump on the other end. This kind of stuff seems fun and it was thrilling to watch.
But some of the pure comic gags pay off even more. One of these is when Wee Man, the Jackass crew’s only little person, walks into a bar with his little person lady friend. All hell breaks loose when her little person boyfriend sees them and starts a fight. Soon after, a whole storm of little people rush in, from police to paramedics. The looks and reactions from the other people watching are priceless.
Other inspired moments involve Knoxville dressed as an old man shopping for a scooter and making out with a younger girl he says is his granddaughter. It’s reassuring that the guy on the street who’s asked to take their picture tells Knoxville he should be ashamed of himself. He’s right, but still, it’s funny.
There’s also some amusing sequences involving animals - be it a dog, scorpion, ram or buffalo- as they fight back against the humans. The animals are the smartest living creatures in the movie and I like how they teach the humans a lesson for being, well, jackasses, which I guess is the point of the movie.
You either have plans to see Jackass 3D or you don’t. I’m not sure there’s anyone on the fence because they’re waiting to hear what critics think. If you are a fan of the series, then there’s no reason you won’t laugh, shriek, wince, bite your fist, etc. After all, that’s what you expect and desire from this movie and, on that level, you get your money’s worth. If you’re not a fan of Jackass, then I don’t recommend you see it, because the reasons anyone likes this movie will be the same reasons others dislike it. If what I’ve listed entices you, enjoy; if it appalls you, you’ve been warned.