September 24, 2006

Movie Review: Jackass Number Two

How do you review a movie like this? Do you speak of the clever, yet sophomoric, play on words in the title? Do you detail the stunts that are contained within? Do you mention the waves of laughter that ripple through the audience like nausea? Do you go on about the insanity of the players in the film? Do you even call it a movie? What kind of movie is it? Documentary? Action? Comedy? Or, maybe you would speak on how beautifully the opening sequence is filmed and pieced together? So many questions can go through your mind as you approach a work such as this.

Jackass Number Two is pretty much review proof. Those who want to see it do not need to read reviews, they know what it is all about. Those who don't want to see it may read the reviews out of some morbid curiosity, but they won't help the box office take. So why write a review? Perhaps as a way to cleanse the soul, to purge the images from your minds eye and move them into some sort of back brain file.

I am not even sure that I can go so far as to call this a movie. It has laughs, but I wouldn't call it a "comedy." It has action, but I wouldn't call it an "action movie." It seems to come closest to a documentary, but there is no real narrative, or subject matter that it delves into. The one thing that it does do, and this is a testament to director Jeff Tremaine and editor, whose name I do not know. They have taken these exploits and placed them into an escalating lyrical pattern that has a flow all of its own. There is just something that is disturbingly fascinating watching the Jackass guys do their thing, while the cuts move forward in a flow that makes a strange sort of sense. I cannot quite explain it, but the editing works as we move through the waves of pain and disgust, mixed with gut busting hilarity.

I cannot claim to be a fan of the original television incarnation, nor of the first movie, although I have seen bits of the series and the entire first film. For awhile, I was almost ashamed to admit how funny I found it. For some unexplained reason, I was ashamed for gaining enjoyment from something that I considered to be so lowbrow. I still consider it to be low entertainment, but I haved made peace with myself.

The screening of Jackass Number Two that I attended had a pretty good crowd, mostly college age kids from the look of it. Just as I had expected. They all seemed to be having a good time, judging by the mixture of laughs and gasps. I was right there with them.

To go into any detail of the gags and stunts, or their results would do anyone with an inkling of seeing this a disservice. Besides, if you don't have an idea of what will happen, you don't know anything about Jackass, and have probably been living under a rock. Still, you will not get details out of me. However, I will say that the only thing that I really did not like seeing was people vomiting. I have never enjoyed that, real or not, and is one thing I have never liked to see. There are also things depicted that will make you wonder what it takes to get an R rating. I also wonder what possesses this motley crew to put themselves through these things, is it a cry for help, or perhaps they are just desperate for attention, the world may never know.

There is one thing, above all others that makes me chuckle. It is something that has been adapted for use here, and numerous other places. That thing is the movie preceding disclaimer:

The reason I find these things so humorous is that these guys have to start somewhere. I am not advocating anyone actually doing the stunts here, but they were not always "professionals," if they can even be called such now. I am fairly certain they did not undergo any type of extensive training when they decided to put their life and limb on the line for the sake of entertainment.

Bottomline. Is this a good movie? No. I still don't think it is a movie. Is it something worth seeing? In the grand scheme of things, probably not. It is sure not to be to the betterment of society to see it, it more likely is helping to contribute to the dumbing down of the youth. However, I would be lying if the actions contained within do not hold some sort of morbid amusement to someone such as myself. I would be lying if I said that portions were not unsettlingly hilarious. In the end, if this sort of thing is entertaining to you, you don't need me to validate your desires. View at your own risk.

Mildly Recommended.
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