Johnny Knoxville and crew take male genital torture to new heights in the revolting Jackass Forever.
Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, and a throng of eager new goofball masochists take male genital torture to astonishing new levels. Jackass Forever has the gross-out troupe making their penises and scrotums full-fledged characters in stomach-churning, ultra painful stunts. The fifth installment in the twenty-year-old franchise will have audiences howling and hurling at the same time. I was repulsed to the point of gagging but admittedly laughed myself to a near stupor. Their antics are undeniably hilarious. The glaring problem is that Knoxville and company use animals as tools in some of their infantile games. This kind of humor cannot ethically be endorsed or supported.
Jackass Forever, just like the previous films, has no plot or structure. It’s ninety minutes of escalating and mind-boggling raunchy gags. The old guard takes their share of punishment. But usher in a younger generation of complicit punching bags that worshiped the Jackass clowns as impressionable kids. The hugely obese Zach Holmes stands out as a newbie willing to sacrifice for the cause. Other notable additions include Davon Lamar Wilson, aka Jasper Dolphin, and his father, “Darkshark" Wilson, who puts his fear of spiders to a terrifying test. Steve-O, “Poopies” McInerney, Chris Pontius, and “Danger” Ehren are the primary penile players. Audiences will become excruciatingly familiar with their battered genitalia.
Let’s review what works and is actually clever. Johnny Knoxville hosts a game show where the contestants have to answer fourth-grade questions. A wrong answer results in a machine affixed with a slipper powerfully slapping their gonads. Jeff Tremaine, who’s produced and directed every Jackass film, records their failures in glorious slow motion from every twisted angle. I dare anyone not to laugh as Wee Man’s buttocks and testicles flagellate from a particularly vicious hit. This sequence is surprisingly one of the tamest. Gallons of pig semen, feces, and hockey pucks were not involved.
Jackass Forever makes a tremendous mistake by exploiting animals for cheap laughs. Knoxville employs an animal handler that brings snakes, a bear, vulture, bull, and a host of insects to the stunts. There’s nothing funny about taunting and manipulating frightened animals. The human actors are compensated and submit to filmed debasement. Every broken bone, concussion, and cut was done voluntarily. Forcing an animal into a stressful situation is immoral. The credits make a point to state that the American Humane Society monitored animal action. This is required for every film that incorporates animals. The studio should not have allowed such extensive scenes.
Jackass Forever pushes decency off a cliff, runs it over ten times, and then blows it up for good measure. There aren’t thirty seconds of screen time before the male junk onslaught begins. It’s shocking and revolting, but also knockdown funny in parts. Normally I would wholeheartedly embrace such a juvenile film on a pure laughs factor. But I cannot support a film that callously mistreats animals. Jackass Forever needs another edit. Stunts that were cut for this version could easily replace the problematic scenes. Jackass Forever is an MTV Studios and Dickhouse production. It will have an exclusive theatrical release on February 4th from Paramount Pictures.
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