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Here’s all you really need to know about Jackass 3D: Earlier this week I helped make a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Jackass Stunts… so far. It is now safe to drop the “so far”. Were it to be included in our deliberations, at best only one of the stunts in Jackass 3D would stand a chance of making the list, and it’s not actually a Jackass stunt, but a stunt set up and performed by a completely unrelated stuntgroup from Finland called The Dudesons. Johnny Knoxville participates just to give the proceedings a Jackass feel, but he’s so covered in padding he’s forced to wear a Santa suit in order to hide the pillow bulge. In the first movie Steve-O is almost eaten by alligators. In the second movie Johnny Knoxville rode an exploding rocket halfway to the moon. In the third movie some guys skateboard off a ramp into a swimming pool.
The element of half-crazed, death defying danger that was present in all previous Jackass endeavors has faded, perhaps pushed out of the picture by girlfriends and wives and kids who, incidentally you’ll see glimpses of during the movie’s sappy, family photos themed closing credits. The movie’s wistful, congratulatory end sequence is just one of strangely tone deaf elements of this film. It’s as if Johnny Knoxville and his gang think their fans tune into their hijinks because they want to feel something, or because they’re interested in rainbow-themed irony, when all they really want is one thing… and that one thing is to see them pain. It’d be different if they were actually any good at being sappy or delivering some sort of irony themed commentary, but they’re not, and those efforts come off as ridiculous at best.
Still, there’s plenty of pain, mostly in the form of ball punching, and Knoxville does do a quick run around a ring pursued by an angry bull. But none of it really feels as dangerous and on the edge as it once did. All that’s really left of the Jackass façade is the ability to be gross and, getting old or not, they’ve still got that down. If you’re into Jackass because you like to see people pissed on or to watch projectile diarrhea shoot out of man’s ass, then you’ll be happy. Steve-O does something in this movie so gross that it not only caused people in the room with him to vomit, it may literally cause vomiting in theaters. They’ve even gone high-tech with the gross outs, using high-speed cameras to show just how far the runny shit flew in slow motion and from multiple angles. Oh yeah, and it’s in 3D. Not good 3D, exactly, but then how good can you expect any of the cinematography in your film to be when you’re literally pissing on your camera man? Not good. Not good at all.
Mostly this is a movie in which you’ll get to watch a bunch of friends with marginal life skills stand around having a good time by torturing each other. It’s pointless to try and review this as a film, it’s not a film, it’s just a collection of short moments of stupidity. Jackass has always been that, at times it was even fun, but now it’s pretty clear that the guys involved have gotten older, gotten safer, and lost a lot of the hunger (or in the case of Steve-O alcoholism) which drove them straight to the edge and then right over it, for your entertainment. There’s nothing more dangerous here than anything you’ll see on an NFL football field any random afternoon. It’s a party movie as much as it’s a stunt movie. It’s so celebratory that fans will probably be happy, but I miss the danger. I miss wondering how it is that no one involved in this movie ended up dead. Instead you’ll get to see Chris Pontius hit a ping pong ball with his penis. If that’s your thing, buy a ticket and try to catch it in your mouth, when it shoots out of the screen in blurry 3D.
For in-depth analysis of the 3D techniques used in Jackass 3D, go here.