So who had odds on an entertainment series that puts bodily fluids, wiener abuse, and all other kinds of physical harm front and center for people to laugh at becoming a generational franchise? Not me, that’s for sure.
The final chapter in a two-decade-long crescendo of laughing, screaming, and broken bones, Jackass Forever sees original cast members Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Wee Man, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, and a handful of new recruits (RIP to the late Ryan Dunn and the still-struggling Bam Margera) as they commit to pulling off the most dangerous, disgusting, cringe-worthy, and downright amazing acts of daredevilry and idiocy seen in recent memory. Featuring stunts that should never be attempted at home, this seemingly final chapter in the Jackass series ups the ante in more ways than one, while somehow finding a way to make audiences emotionally nostalgic over a bunch of dumbasses giving it their all just to get a laugh. As our good friend, Johnny Knoxville would say, “Welcome to Jackass!”
With four movies and a bunch of television episodes under their belt, the Jackass team has finally made it to the finish line, and after all these years abusing themselves and those around them, the sheer lunacy of what’s happening in this sequel immediately makes the experience worth the price of admission. From the opening sequence right down to the final gag, Jackass is back in a way that finishes out the franchise successfully, in spite of a few common missteps that have more or less dogged this series from the start.
Full of unbelievable stunts, gross gags, clever skits, more penile abuse than you can shake a dick at, and a beating heart that comes full circle in the best kind of way (if you’ve been paying attention to these guys’ journeys all this time, that is), Jackass Forever is about as good as one can expect for a movie that’s basically a glorified excuse to make physical comedy matter again. And although the main cast sits out more than a few of the most insane sequences presented here, there’s more than enough wild shit happening at any given time that I found myself laughing out loud or cringing in the worst way possible every few minutes — a feat that I didn’t expect considering we’ve seen so much from these guys over the decades.
And while I like me some real-life stunt work with my comedy as much as the next guy, not every skit hits as well as it should, mostly stemming from my lukewarm reception to some of the new recruits as well as the noticeable absence of a few original Jackass members, which effectively turn parts of the film into a hit or miss spectacle that luckily never falls below acceptable movie-watching standards. It’s almost weird to say it, but while the charisma and willingness to hurt oneself is undoubtedly front and center with the new additions, nothing can beat the camaraderie, built-in history, and general wow factor of seeing an OG cast member pull off a stunt that makes you laugh, worry, and cringe over in a way that the newbies just can’t seem to consistently pull off. My hat is still off to them, of course, but the torch isn’t exactly passed in this installment, despite the effort made.
I might have scored this one a little bit higher than I probably should have as the previous two sequels were ever so slightly better than this one, but at the end of the day, Jackass Forever reminds one of a simpler time when getting punched in the dick or vomiting profusely was peak comedy that everyone could enjoy, proving that while the stars of the show may keep getting older, the fun never does.