JACKASS 3 - Blu-ray review

The filmmakers never fail to take the low road every chance they can, but they must have laughed all the way to the bank.

John J. Puccio's picture
John J.

There is no doubt the "Jackass" movies and TV shows are a specialized taste. They have a specific, built-in audience, and whether you are a part of that audience depends on your particular appreciation for the stupidity of the stunts involved. It's too much of a cheap shot to say the "Jackass" series appeals only to those viewers with the lowest taste because, in fact, slapstick comedy like this can appeal to all intellects. I think what annoys me about the "Jackass" stunts is the same thing that irritates me about most so-called "reality" shows in general: They are artless and foolish to the nth degree, a way to make a buck without having to spend a dime on a script or costumes or settings and without ever having to attempt anything even remotely original or innovative. Anyway, I'm probably the wrong person to review this latest installment in the movie franchise, 2010's "Jackass 3," since I hated almost everything I saw of the first two movies and everything I saw of the TV shows.

It's no surprise, then, that I hated "Jackass 3," which continues the same idea for another ninety minutes or so. The concept, of course, is a combination of school-yard stunts of the "I dare you" variety; gags reminiscent of the old "Candid Camera" television show; a boatload of crude and vulgar practical jokes; and more than a touch of Evel Knievel daredevilry. The main thing, though, is the "I dare you" thing. You know, I dare you to jump off a cliff a thousand feet into a teacup of water. No, that's stupid. I dare you! I double dare you! I double-dog dare you to jump across the widest part of the Grand Canyon on a tricycle! Oh, OK. The filmmakers expect the audience to laugh as loudly as the movie's participants at the inevitably disastrous and painful results. I didn't.

Yet I see at Rotten Tomatoes that 62% of the nation's critics liked and recommended the picture. It's a mystery to me. And this time I am not accepting the argument that I hated the movie simply because I have no sense of humor. I wanted to turn this foolishness off for good about ten minutes in, but, loyal to DVDTOWN readers, I stayed the course.

MTV Films and Dickhouse Productions were among the co-makers of the film, Beavis and Butthead introduce it, and one of its co-stars is Bam Margera, the skateboarder who made "Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% Is Santa?," one of the worst films in the history of the world. That should tell you something about the level of humor in "Jackass 3." As always, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine thought it up, and, as always, they never fail to take the low road every chance they can, which is practically every second of screen time.

The stunts come fast and furious, one atop the other, in the apparent belief that if one joke doesn't work, maybe the next one will, and nobody will notice. Let me list just the first dozen or so of the forty-odd segments in the movie. First, it's the "High Five," a giant hand that splats people in the face and knocks them down. That's the joke; knock somebody down and laugh. Next, it's the "Jet Ski," with Knoxville attempting to clear a hedge on the vehicle. He doesn't. After that, the gang hits baseballs into Steve O's crotch; followed by the "Bungee Boogie," hurling folks into a wading pool. Does any of this sound even remotely funny to you? It's not. Not when I explain it, not when you see it.

Then, there's the recurring "Rocky," people getting hit in the head with a boxing glove; "Beehive Tetherball," just what it sounds like, with what the participants claim are real bees; a jet-engine exhaust blowing people over; a buffalo knocking people over; a portable toilet exploding blue paint; pro kicker Josh Brown kicking a football point blank into Preston Lacy, knocking him over; and the "Blindside," with Knoxville and the gang playing a ridiculous football game with pros Erik Ainge and Jared Allen, and actor Seann William Scott as referee.

It doesn't seem possible, but the film actually gets dumber and grosser as it goes along. Train-set jokes and butt-smoking gags are too crude for me to describe; and watching guys getting shot by Tasers or having their chest hair pulled off with super glue is never funny.

What I also found unbearable about "Jackass 3" was having to endure the sight of nearly a dozen unattractive, naked, and semi-naked men acting like adolescents and making fools of themselves. But I guess they laughed (at their audience) all the way to the bank because the movie took in over $117,000,000 at the box office. Imagine that: Moviegoers spent upwards of ten or twelve dollars a ticket (a lot of it on the 3-D experience) for this nonsense. Now, you can choose to pay two or three times that price for the Blu-ray Combo package.

Or not.

Paramount do what they can with the video, reproducing it on the Blu-ray disc in high definition using an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a dual-layer BD50. The colors in the 1.78:1 ratio picture are appropriately bright and gaudy, and the digital photography is clean as a whistle, totally flat, and slightly blurred. In other words, the PQ is every bit as ugly as the movie itself.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound is loud and blaring, a perfect complement to the loud, blaring picture. There is not much surround activity except during the beehive segment, not much bass except in one musical number, not much impact, and not much of anything worth hearing.

There are quite a number of extras in the set, making a bad thing worse. Disc one contains two high-def Blu-ray versions of the movie--the theatrical version seen in theaters and an unrated version that adds a few more minutes of mayhem. Then, you'll find even more items, all of them in high def: "The Making of Jackass 3," twenty-eight minutes; eleven deleted scenes totaling about sixteen minutes; a series of outtakes, twenty-seven minutes that I couldn't tell from the actual movie; D-Box motion processing if you have a D-Box processor; and a widescreen trailer.

The Blu-ray extras conclude with forty-eight scene selections; bookmarks; English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese spoken languages; English, French, and Spanish subtitles; and English captions for the hearing impaired.

Disc two, a standard DVD, contains a 3-D version of the theatrical movie, so you can watch it not only in fuzzier definition but in old-fashioned, headache-inducing anaglyph three-dimension. In addition, disc two includes a digital copy of the theatrical version for PC or Mac, the offer expiring March 8, 2012. To top things off, Paramount provide four pairs of classic 3-D glasses, and an embossed slipcover to enclose one of those flimsy little Eco-cases the studios find all the rage these days.

Parting Shots:
"Jackass 3" is childish in the extreme, and, frankly, I have no idea why so many people liked it except to suggest, as delicately as possible, that everyone has a different sense of humor. Nonetheless, my hating it is probably the best thing the filmmakers could want me to say because the people who love this film are probably the very same ones who claim they only go to movies that critics hate; after all, critics are always wrong.

Lastly, why did I give the film a 3/10 rating if I disliked it so much? Why not a 1 or a 2? Well, the movie is "Jackass 3," so the number seemed only fitting; a nice symmetry. Besides, what do I know?


Film Value