Jackass Forever is everything “I’m A Celebrity” wishes it could be, including likeable.
If you’d told me, all those months ago, that the movie that finally get me back behind the keyboard would be JACKASS FOREVER, I would have thought you’d taken one too many blows to the head yourself. I’d always maintained a presumptive disdain for the puerile masochism and sophomoric frat boy japery that JACKASS seemed to revel in but late one Friday night, that was all set to change.
It was thanks to JACKASS FOREVER arriving on Sky Movies and me, idly flicking through channels while contemplating finally going to bed that I got my first real taste of Jackassery and the main surprise was that while I’d been snootily dismissive of the series for years, there was a pretty big overlap with the FAILARMY videos I regularly watch on YouTube.
I’ve since gone back and watched the other JACKASS films but I think JACKASS FOREVER is my favourite, not just because it’s my first but because it’s fundamentally more interesting now the crew are deeply into middle age. When they were young, dumb, and – all too frequently – full of horse cum, the reckless endangerment seemed to go hand in hand with the bravado and assumptive immortality of the young. Scars, bruises, bites and broken bones were shrugged off with the confidence that time would heal all wounds. When the sense of that time being finite starts to creep in, the masochistic gonzo antics of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and the gang take on a strange sense of pathos; the heightened risk brings heightened awareness and underscores the bravery, ingenuity and commitment of the stunt teams as they see just how far they can push everything and everyone in the name of nothing more noble or important than fun.
Oh, sure, JACKASS FOREVER – like its predecessors – may still tend towards the scatological or testicular for my liking but the great thing about its scattergun format is that if one stunt fails to amuse, another half a dozen will be along in the next few minutes. Funny, ridiculous and reprehensible in equal measure, if there are no such things as guilty pleasures, then perhaps I’ll count JACKASS FOREVER as a dirty pleasure. I’m not proud of how many times I laughed out loud, but I’m not ashamed of it either and perhaps I’m even a little bit envious of the carefully curated sense of irresponsibility that infuses their cunning stunts.