You watched the first shows on TV. You watched the three movie versions in theaters. You couldn't wait for them to come out on disc and got pirate copies from your shady nephew in Newark. You eventually bought all of them on DVD and Blu-ray. Now, finally (I mean, it's been at least three months since the last one) comes the next installment in the series, the all-new, unrated, direct-to-video (and Internet), 2011 movie "Jackass 3.5." If you liked the previous "Jackass" films, you'll like the all-new version even more, since it's fifteen minutes shorter than the previous one. And if you hate the "Jackass" series, you'll hate the new movie twice as much (hand raised).
There is no doubt the "Jackass" films 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 a cheap shot to say the "Jackass" series appeals only to those viewers with the lowest taste because, in fact, slapstick comedy such as 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, 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 "Jackass 3.5," since I hated almost everything I saw of the first three movies and everything I saw of the TV shows.
It's no surprise, then, that I hated "Jackass 3.5," which continues the same idea, thankfully for less time at eighty-four minutes. The concept, of course, stays the same, 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.
It's still a mystery to me why so many people like this kind of juvenile humor, but that's none of my business. The movie is "unrated" because nobody submitted it to the MPAA ratings board.
Again MTV Films and Dickhouse Productions were among the co-makers of the film, along with Paramount Pictures, and again one of its co-stars is Bam Margera, the skateboarder who made "Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% Is Santa?," one of the worst films ever made. That should tell you something about the level of humor in "Jackass 3.5." As always, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine produced it; Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Wee Man, Preston Lacy, Dave England, and "Danger Ehren" McGhehey co-star; and, as always, the whole bunch of them never fail to take the low road every chance they can, which is every second of screen time.
The guys are in London this time, messing around on a press tour or something. 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 a few of the forty-odd segments in the movie. There's an alligator snapping turtle that bites one fellow's butt. A man falls from a tree while the others laugh. There's barrel surfing, obviously with a surfboard and barrels. There's the old kicking-the-chair-out-from-under-somebody gag. They again use a snapping turtle, this time on a stick. They hit each other on the head. They shoot people in the rear with a mini-cannon. There's Slip-and-Bowl, involving a helicopter and paint-ball guns. And there's the Magna-goggles bit that involves hitting people's fingers with a hammer. 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 "Doo Falls," "Kissing Booth," "Drywall Drop-in," "Bareback Base Jumping," "Bombs Away," "The Invisible Wee," the "Wood Pecker," the "Flaming Gauntlet," and a dozen or more other gags involving excrement and body parts, gags so crude I can't even describe them.
This time the film doesn't get any dumber or grosser or smuttier as it goes along. It starts out dumb and gross and smutty and simply keeps up the pace. Worse, "Jackass 3.5" looks like a collection of all the bits the gang left out of the 3.0 version. If anything, the "humor" is not only dumber and grosser and smuttier, it's less inventive and just plain stupider.
Furthermore, the series continues to force one to endure the sight of nearly a dozen unattractive, naked and semi-naked men acting like adolescents and making fools of themselves. Nevertheless, they make money at it, a lot of money, so who am I to argue with that kind of success.
Paramount do what they can with the video, reproducing it on Blu-ray 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, just as before, and the digital photography is reasonably clean, totally flat, and slightly blurred. In other words, much of the time 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 anywhere that I could find, not much bass, not much dynamic range, not much impact, and not much of anything worth hearing.
There are several extras in the set. The first is the featurette "Jackass: The Beginning," about forty minutes on the origins of the show, and more of the same material. Next are eleven deleted scenes, about sixteen minutes' worth, followed by twenty minutes of outtakes. Then, there's another featurette, "Jackass European Tour," about six minutes on their press tour.
The extras conclude with forty scene selections; bookmarks; English as the only spoken language; English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles; and English captions for the hearing impaired.
"Jackass 3.5" remains, as expected, childish and boorish in the extreme, an acquired taste, and certainly not for everyone. Still, my hating it is undoubtedly the best thing the filmmakers could want me to say because the people who love this film are probably the very ones who claim they only watch movies that critics hate. So, if you like it, go for it.
Almost lastly: If you remember, I gave "Jackass 3" a 3/10 rating because, well, it seemed appropriate; a nice symmetry. Accordingly, I should be giving "Jackass 3.5" a 3.5/10 rating if for no other reason than because it doesn't last as long as the previous movie and doesn't put the viewer through as much agony. But DVDTOWN doesn't give .5 ratings, so I'll go with a 2/10.
Really lastly: The folks at Paramount, MTV Films, and Dickhouse make "Jackass 3.5" available on DVD nationwide but on Blu-ray as a Best Buy exclusive. Don't ask.