Two days after WW
printed an interview with Jackass
' local hero Ehren McGhehey
, a significant chunk of our culture staff took a long lunch to watch McGhehey and his friends lose theirs. We were all very gratified. Chris Stamm did the reviewing honors.
WW Critic's Score:
Giddy as a kid, still buzzing with the deranged joy of Jackass 3-D
, I sent my brother a sketchy text attempting to nail this jittery feeling that overcomes me whenever MTV's crew of shit-stained Chaplins drag their taut, tattooed bodies back into my life. He replied with the simple poetry I was fumbling for: "I couldn't enjoy the movie," he wrote. "I was consumed with the fact it would be over soon." He was lying, of course—I'd been sitting next to him during the film, and for 90 minutes he was a bundle of gale-force glee in ridiculous glasses. I knew what he meant, though, because my post-Jackass
rush was also spiked with a manic melancholy, that swift sort of sadness that accompanies those rare, swimming visions of better possible worlds, stronger possible versions of me, bolder exploitations of our fragile forms.
This is what my brother meant, what I mean: The Jackasses do what they do because their bodies, like our bodies, like all bodies, will be over soon, too soon, and when Chris Pontius tethers a remote controlled helicopter to his dick, or when Ehren McGhehey ties his tooth to a Lamborghini's bumper, or when Ryan Dunn antagonizes a grumpy ram—basically whenever any member of this mad troupe does his Wile E. Coyote dance over the abyss—what he is doing is imagining and then enacting an absurdist invasion of the very scary place where everything falls apart before going dark forever. Jackass
is liberation pornography, a rough guide to getting it on with the wet edge of this messy universe, and though it has always (for me, at least) been about beating the cruel nature of the world to the punch by kissing your own ass goodbye before time does it for you, Jackass
seems finally to be saying goodbye to us
, and watching those cock-waggling explorers limp into what looks like retirement is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.
What will I do without them? For 10 years, Johnny Knoxville and company have been there with fast answers to my sick questions concerning everything I always wanted to know about my body but was afraid to try. Jackass 3D
is the tamest orgy of Spike Jonze-produced skater-boy masochism yet, with too many artfully composed slow motion shots softening the spirit of punky anarchy—it is as if the images are commiserating with our bruised, aging boys by ramping down to the crippled speed of a dying animal—but like the Ramones in their Phil Spector phase, there is simply too much raw glory in these men; they are the keepers of some tenacious life force that demands manifestation as explosive diarrhea, and no film trickery can contain them (or their shit). I still have questions. They still have answers.
What we have here, then: Steve O taking a baseball to the balls; Bam Margera pissing on his friends' necks (from his ween's POV, no less); Knoxville offering his ass to a snarling mutt; Preston Lacy offering his ass to a hungry pig; pretty much every other Jackass offering his ass to something or someone; Lance Bangs vomiting on his camera; pretty much every other person in front of or behind the cameras vomiting on something; Pontius using his schlong as a tiny baseball bat; and, in the film's best bit, Wee Man anchoring a masterpiece of antic little person comedy that I will not spoil for you by explaining any further.
It is, then, exactly what you'd expect, but in 3-D, which means when the dildos fly and the excrement soars, those rubber wangs and shitty globs are coming right fucking at you
! The more carefully arranged and slowly revealed set pieces take full advantage of the craze that Cameron built, and for the first time since Avatar
, I felt immersed in an alternate universe for short stretches of time. It's a universe of fart darts and woodpeckers pecking peckers, but still, I was closer than ever to my body horror heroes, and when smell-o-vision supplants 3-D, I pray the Jackass
dudes will perfect a vomit concoction that smells as nasty as Steve O's expectorations look.
But my dreams of Jackass 4: Smell the Glove I Just Pooped In
may remain just that—consoling figments of middle aged men sucking on each other's colostomy bags and turning their canes into anal sex toys. As the credits roll over a montage of baby pics, early aughts hijinks and latter-day behind-the-scenes wistfulness, Jackass 3-D
becomes retroactively elegiac, and the sudden realization that I had spent the last 90 minutes saying goodbye to my favorite movie stars of the last decade made me wish I could cry in movies, because I probably would have cried, and it would have felt great, then a little embarrassing, then a mite disturbing, and then my brother would have turned to me and punched me in the balls before slapping me with a dildo, and I would have felt great again, because my brother would have reminded me of the most important Jackassian lesson: You're still alive, dude, and isn't that fucking awesome?
Jackass 3-D is rated R and opened Friday at these locations.