Should I Watch..? 'Jackass Number Two'
What's the Big Deal?
Jackass Number Two is a reality comedy film released in 2006 and is the second movie to be spun off from the MTV series Jackass. Like both the TV show and the first film, the movie is made up of a number of stunts, pranks, hidden camera antics, and generally bad behaviour. The film sees all of the regular Jackass crew return as well as featuring cameos from the likes of wheelchair rugby star Mark Zupan, Spike Jonze, Mat Hoffman, Tony Hawk, rap group Three 6 Mafia, then-member of the Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor, and many more. The movie was once again directed by Jeff Tremaine but unlike the first film, this sequel received a warmer response from critics. Despite only being made for around $11.5 million, the movie would go on to earn almost $85 million worldwide and the film's success allowed Paramount to give the go-ahead for a third film, Jackass 3D, in 2010.
What's It About?
The TV show Jackass featured a group of young men spending a lot of time together and amusing themselves (and frequently injuring themselves as well) by performing insane, dangerous and/or comic skits. After the TV series was cancelled in 2002, the group reunited for what they believed would be the last hurrah and released Jackass: The Movie, which enabled them to perform skits that would never be allowed on TV. After the success of that movie, the team all went their separate ways.
While filming their spinoff show Wildboyz, co-hosts Chris Pontius and Steve-O reunited with Johnny Knoxville and rekindled some of the old magic, shooting new material. With Tremaine realising that Knoxville was up for another movie, they persuade the team to return for another series of pranks, stunts and gross-out humour for this movie. As such, this film features scenes like the Gauntlet involving various people trying to traverse a skating obstacle course, a beehive inserted through the sunroof of a limo and a beer enema. A ward of warning—this film is strictly for adults only (immature adults, obviously) and at no point should you or anyone else try to copy anything in this film. In fact, it nearly killed a couple of them...
Himself / Bunny The Life Guard
Jason Acuña *
Himself / Danger Ehren
Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville *
Release Date (UK)
24th November, 2006
What's to Like?
Part of me wanted to really hate this - the very appearance of the film being contradictory to what was said after the first film. But by the time the first scene had concluded, I didn't care about the motivations behind the reunion and embraced them like a long-lost friend. As a fan of the original Jackass show, it is testament to the team that there still have plenty of ideas left in the tank. Each scene seems to up the ante even further and every single cast member has their moment to shine. Well, if being showered with bodily fluid can ever be shining.
Knoxville deserves the biggest praise as the reckless abandon and almost complete lack of self-preservation he demonstrates is astounding. The movie is edgier and more ambitious than before - no pinhole cameras or time-wasting Party Boy segments found here. Believe it or not, there are some genuinely inspired moments here such as the switcheroo involving Bam's parents, the adorable Phil and April Margera. Obviously, a collection of clowns won't be funny every time but there is a greater hit-rate, if you like, than Jackass: The Movie. This film is funnier, dirtier, more childish and more enjoyable than the first film which retained the amateurish camerawork and production values of the TV show.
- The film managed to inflict several injuries on the crew. Knoxville was knocked out four times during the shoot and almost killed during the Big Red Rocket sequence, Preston was also knocked out after flying twenty feet through the air and destroying a camera stand with his head during the film's finale and Dunn was seriously hurt after developing a potentially fatal blood clot in his shoulder during his stunt in the finale.
- Knoxville said that he developed ideas for the movie from cartoons like Tom & Jerry and the Looney Tunes. The scene where Knoxville blindfolds himself is a direct reference to Tom & Jerry.
- The production team were very careful not to leak shooting locations for fear of fans turning up and ruining the shoot. Locations included India, England, Moscow, Argentina, Australia and various places in the USA.
What's Not to Like?
Viewers with a weak constitution will find themselves tested at times with a film as challenging as Jackass Number Two which features as much bodily fluids as it does nudity, bad language and the sort of behaviour no-one should be copying. Much in the same way that the first film and the TV series, this film is like a circus of extremes with one stunt following another with no narrative. Each scene exists for a short moment of time before things swiftly move on to the next bit and as a result, not every sequence generates laughs. You can witness the beginnings of Knoxville's dirty old man routine that he utilised in Bad Grandpa as he and Spike Jonze wears masses of latex to freak out members of the public with their antics. But is it that funny compared to some of the stuff featured here?
Naturally, this kinda stuff only works if you share the same sense of humour which has to be broad-minded and childish. There is no halfway-house with any of the Jackass outings and this is probably the most extreme of the three films. Having said that, the series as a whole has dated somewhat. Thanks to YouTube, hundreds of imitators have injured themselves attempting to copy their heroes while others have taken things further still—anyone who has seen Dirty Sanchez: The Movie will know what I'm talking about. If you never watched the show or strongly disapproved of the very concept won't find anything here to convert them.
Should I Watch It?
The joke might have started wearing thin but Jackass Number Two would prove to be the best film of the lot, being far too mad and dangerous but also entertaining in a dirty sort of way. It feels fresher and more extreme than before, pushing the envelope way further than it should. Anyone who hated the show will hate this and I would advise that such viewers stay away. But if you want to laugh and possibly puke then this is probably the film you'll want to watch. Genuinely funny and absolutely disgusting—the way a Jackass movie should be.
Great For: fans of the show, junkies, immature millennials.
Not So Great For: children, religious leaders, the easily offended.
What Else Should I Watch?
Without stating the obvious, fans of the show have three movies and a spin-off to enjoy. The original Jackass: The Movie is probably the one closest to the feel of the show thanks to its microscopic budget and amateurship camerawork and direction - aspects thankfully clearly up by the time this movie came out. The final entry - the almost inevitable Jackass 3D - might be the most shameless use of the technology but the film features little in the way of new ideas and feels far too familiar to viewers used to the antics of Knoxville and the others. It was also tragically overshadowed by the untimely passing of Ryan Dunn less than a year later.
The Americans have a long and proud history of gross-out humour but few take it as far as Jackass. One such auteur is John Waters (who actually makes a cameo here) with his 1972 film Pink Flamingos and by the Eighties, gross-out humour had almost become the norm. Whether the film is designed for a teen audience like Superbad or an adult one like The Hangover, most comedies now feature bodily fluid and functions of some nature - which, in a way, makes Jackass even worse because it's all real.
© 2017 Benjamin Cox