As Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and company arrive on the scene in slow motion, running with looks of absolute fear and concern on their faces, the melodious theme “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly plays. That look of fear is fully justified – running behind them are forty bulls stampeding. The message the introduction to Jackass Number Two delivers couldn’t be more clear: the boys are back in town, and nothing is outside the limits of their own stupidity.
For those who loved “Jackass” as a television show and swarmed to theaters to see Jackass the movie, read no further – Number Two is more of the antics you are used to from this group, only bigger and better than ever. Over the course of an hour and a half the Jackass crew have snakes attack their privates, strap themselves onto rockets, give themselves brands of dicks on their rears, and commit more types of sodomy and abuse than most people could conceive of. In short: Jackass Number Two is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Knoxville and his crew of others on the lookout for the next gnarly stunt and the movie will not disappoint you.
For those who have, like me, managed to avoid the sophomoric humor this kind of movie brings to the screen, you might be wondering if there’s anything worth seeing from Jackass Number Two. That’s a more difficult question to answer and really depends upon your tolerance of other people’s ignorance. If the things listed above don’t turn you off, you might be interested in seeing this film. Here’s how you can really tell: does the idea of someone “milking” a male horse and then drinking the sperm make you sick? If so, avoid Number Two. That’s just another in a long list of disgusting stunts and pranks the crew pulls and, for me, marks the pinnacle of the crew’s descent into depravity.
While watching the film I had to wonder why these people would put themselves through the embarrassment of beer enemas and public nudity just to get a laugh. About that same time, Bam Margera’s mother, confronted with his newly branded (and infected) ass, asked the same question. The simple answer: because they thought it would be funny. I’ve always known some people would go to any length just to get a laugh. These just happen to be those people. I have to admit, I found myself laughing at that response and then at several other things over the course of the movie. No, someone drinking horse sperm doesn’t appeal to me, but, despite that, Jackass Number Two made me laugh. It also made me wince, gag, and want to throw up. All of these I expect are what the Jackass crew are striving for.
It’s hard to fairly rank a film like this because its humor is definitely subjective, being more than offensive to people who don’t find it funny. Even finding humor in the movie, I was probably offended by a few sequences in the movie, particularly the montage of Knoxville dressed up as an old man with his testicles hanging out as he walks down the street. Why is that offensive? Like other movies I could care less about (such as this year’s Borat), that kind of humor preys on the naiveté of others. The Jackass crew are at their best when they are making fun of themselves and pulling pranks on other members of the crew. That kind of humor only hurts the people directly (and willingly) involved, and that I can live with and even enjoy. Preying on others… well, that’s not as cool. Fortunately, the popularity of the show and first movie have made it nearly impossible for the Jackass crew to go unrecognized, limiting that kind of humor in their movies. I say the film is stronger for it.
I have to guiltily admit I did enjoy Jackass Number Two. I can’t say I’ll watch it again any time soon (or that I’ll be sober if I do) but it is good for a few laughs, even for someone who doesn’t usually go after this kind of abusive humor. Approach it with caution, however. The easily offended can pass this right on by.
Jackass Number Two is being released in separate rated and unrated versions, although there is quite a bit of confusion over what really distinguishes the two releases. Not having seen the theatrical release of the movie I can’t say exactly what makes this an unrated cut other than it’s listed as being two minutes longer than the regular, rated-“R” version (although the listed times of both the rated and unrated editions is reported as being shorter than the theatrical release was, which means somewhere, someone is very confused). My big confusion lies in the bonus material, however.
There is a ton of extra footage included on the disc, divided up into four different sections: unrated material, deleted scenes, outtakes, and additional segments. Because of that verbiage (and the press release from Paramount), the only thing that seems to be exclusive to this set is the unrated material, which is only about five minutes long. Even the deleted scenes are longer than that, and I can’t really tell you what the difference between deleted material and additional segments really is, since some of the deleted material appears to have been deleted from the additional segments. While it’s great to have close to an hour of more footage of the Jackass crew’s antics, it’s a very confusing presentation, and most of it appears to be on the regular disc release anyway.
A commentary track accompanies the movie, featuring most of the Jackass crew and the movie’s director, Jeff Tremaine. I fully expected this track to be a loud, overwhelmingly chaotic party from the crew. While there is some of that, continuing the insults and gags from the movie, they do pull it together enough to tell where ideas came from and who was responsible for what stunt. The result is a commentary that is quite informative while being really entertaining. It’s probably as close as I want to get to sitting down with this crew and watching their movies though.
Other bonus features include uncut versions of the MTV Video Music Awards commercials made by the Jackass crew, the theatrical trailer (and a barely hidden easter egg of another version of the trailer), a half hour “making-of” featurette, and a “Karazy” Music Video. All continue the trend of the movie, showing these guys doing crazy things that should make most people feel uncomfortable but wind up being pretty funny.