Jackass: Number Two

There's almost nothing to be gained by reviewing a movie like Jackass: Number Two. You know what you're getting into. It's Jackass with slightly different stunts, and ultimately whether or not I have good things to say about it will matter little to those of you intent on seeing it. This assumes of course, that any of you can read.

If Jackass: Number Two accomplishes nothing else it proves that even if their audience can't comprehend written words, at least some of Johnny Knoxville's crew of attention-craving misfits can. There's a scene in which some of the gang's notables read out loud, followed by a punch in the face almost as if they're being punished for doing so. That sums up pretty well what the whole Jackass thing is about. Knoxville himself counsels one of his gorillas: "Don't think about it, just do it." Of course when he said it the words "dude" and "asshole" were likely in the sentence somewhere, but I don't usually take notes while I'm watching movies and so I'm not sure exactly where in the sentence he might have inserted them. Probably everywhere.

"Don't think about it, just do it" isn't just how the Jackass boys talk themselves into doing their stunts, it's also advice to the audience. I'm surprised that no one over at Paramount's marketing division has come up with the bright idea to put the words: "Don't think about it, just see it" on their poster. It seems like such an obvious way to get audiences interested in the movie.

By not thinking about it and just doing it, the boys psych themselves up to engage in all sorts of disgusting stupidity. In the film you'll find things such as people being willingly trampled by bulls, a husband and son allowing their wife and mother to be groped by a stranger in her sleep, body parts bitten by various dangerous animals (in particular snakes), and of course the ingesting of urine, feces, and other bodily waste products whether they be animal or human ingested both anally and orally. Most of the film's stunts really aren't that creative (though they are dangerous and destructive). At one point they find themselves so out of ideas that they resort to giving enemas, and then try to make it seem exciting and innovative by chanting "chug" as Steve-O inputs a beer. Sorry guys, it's still just an enema. The Howard Stern show has been doing those on the air for years. Not that it's not all re-tread. A few of their stunts do deserve some originality credit. If I have to pick one, "Firehose Rodeo" was probably my favorite. You'll know it when you see it.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I didn't laugh at Number Two. There are a few guilty chuckles in the film mixed in with a lot of serious cringing. It'd be easy to get up on your soap box and declare this sort of thing the doom of Western civilization and beg for its banning, however I think we all had our fill of that sort of prattle when the first movie came out. I don't buy any of that, and I'm not going to sell it. But just because it's not turning our babies into Mongoloid monsters and dooming us all to a future where the elderly are ground up to make a new and improved version of Red Bull, doesn't mean it's a good movie.

Come on, it's not even really a movie. There's some attempt to bookend the thing with staged numbers to introduce and de-introduce the cast, but otherwise this is simply a random collection of shorts thrown together onto a single reel. There's nothing to connect them, and it's not shown in any order. Basically this is a snuff film without the death and sex, though frankly death and sex would be preferable to some of what Jackass subjects people to. To me this is closer to the modern definition of pornography than anything you'll ever find in an adult video store.

Think about this a minute. What's this movie doing with an R rating? In its 90 minutes I saw more male and female nudity than I've seen in every other mainstream movie I've watched this year combined. You're telling me that if I make an intelligent, thought-provoking, socially relevant movie that shows three minutes of two people engaged in the act of lovemaking, something which is both pleasurable and necessary for the survival of the species, I'll get slapped with an NC-17 rating. However, it's perfectly ok to show a guy freezing his testicles and anus to a block of ice while other men ogle his wrinkly sack? Jerking off a horse? No problem. Saggy old lady breasts shoved into the face of random pedestrians? They love it. I guess the message here is that nudity and sex are ok with the MPAA long as it's ugly and repulsive. Even better apparently, if it's accompanied by cruelty to animals and in some cases to other humans. Sounds like a great way to screw up your kids.

By giving this movie an R, what the MPAA is saying is that it's ok for parents to take their kids to see it. Remember, R-rated means minors can attend as long as they're accompanied by an adult. And trust me, they will be attending. Parents, if you take your kids to see this, you're a bad parent. My screening was full to the brim with bad parents guffawing and hollering like a theater packed with shirtless Clevons, their many bare-footed children plopped down right beside them. If there was ever a movie that deserved an NC-17, then this is it. Forget all the whining filmmakers do about the way violence gets a pass while sexual content gets it up the ass. This is worse. Jackass: Number Two should be the poster child for what's wrong with our ratings system in America. Here's a film full of nothing but the worst of the worst in society being happily screened in every theater across the country for all sorts of god-fearing, morals loving audiences. Actually, when you put it like that, the whole thing sounds deliciously subversive. I take back everything I just said. I like it.

If you saw the first one and enjoyed it, you're probably going to do the same with this one. The Jackass franchise is still the absolute best way there is to watch people hurting themselves and others for your entertainment. No doubt about it, that's the way it is. This is the poo-flinging flagship of America. I just think we're all better than this material. Maybe not a lot better and there's certainly nothing wrong with a dirty joke now and then, but once was really enough. I think we could all excuse the first one as escapist entertainment. Another one is one too much. I started out laughing but by the end I just felt sad. Sad because I was sitting there watching people insert things into their anus, and sad that there are actually people out there willing to feed themselves to sharks in order to get attention. It's seems so pathetic and desperate Steve-O. You don't need to lose a limb in order to be loved. Enough.

Josh Tyler