Ten years ago a group of skateboarders, bmxers and stoners, already getting paid for doing crazy stunts on the circuit (and in their backyards), armed themselves with a video camera and captured themselves doing painfully insane pranks and tricks on one another. It was a MTV hit and it was good. Capitalizing on the success of their television show, they amped up their antics for their cinematic debut Jackass: The Movie. It too was good. Then came Jackass Number Two. It was good too, although it was clear the premise was beginning to show its age.
Now with 3D taking center stage in 2010, I suppose someone somewhere decided this was the gimmick needed to spice up the “been there, done that” skits. After all, who doesn’t want the excitement and sensation of having virtual excrement flung into their faces? (Apparently, I’m told, it’s the next best thing to having the real stuff tossed in your face!) Interestingly enough, the 3D element doesn’t add anything of merit to Jackass 3D — it still mostly works thanks to the abject stupidity of the stunts and the childlike exuberance these guys still have doing them.
And that’s pretty much the only reason we watch things like this. Keep the stupidity level high and allow the viewer to shake their heads in disgust one instant and wince in pain the next all the while laughing at the insanity of it all.
All the boys from the previous installments are featured in Jackass 3D — Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason Acuà±a — and a host of others including a celebrity or two can be found “lending” their talents. The skits are mostly rehashes — withstanding the charge of a bull, crashing with speed in shopping carts, port-o-potty hijinx — with a smattering of fresh ideas — playing tetherball with a live beehive, drinking sweat and playing with glue.
How these jackasses are still alive is one of the great unanswerable questions of the galaxy; most of them should have died long ago at the hands of an ill-conceived stunt (which many of these seem to be). It just proves the axiom that the people who spit in the face of conventional wisdom, and revel in doing the most unrecommended choices, live the longest. God bless ’em and the niche they’ve blazoned and continue to milk.