Friday, November 12, 2010

I Must be One for Watching

Well, I'm not sure what to say. A few weeks ago it was recommended to me that I review Jackass 3D by my co-worker Jeff, so when I finally had a day I could go I schlepped down to the theater to take it in. I'd never, with the exception of a few glanced clips here and there, had much experience with the gross-out stunts show that became such a pop culture phenomena a decade ago. I've known people over the years who swear by the show as hilarious entertainment. I've also known people who think it's the worst thing in existence, a plague defining the maelstrom that is reality TV. Whatever people's opinion, it was a huge part of MTV's popularity in the early part of the past decade, inspiring several spin-offs involving members of the Jackass team. De facto leader Johnny Knoxville even turned his fame into a brief film career. I have had no interest at all in seeing this film or any of it's ilk, but decided I couldn't condemn something I'd never seen. So here we are. Let the condemnation begin.

Ooh, right in the brain case!
Jackass 3D has no plot, not even a guiding idea or a trend in the stunts they pull. The film basically goes from skit to skit, stunt to stunt. One or more of the group attempt a trick, some involving dangerous situations such as falling from great heights, others involving getting beaten up by animals such as goats, buffalo or even a bull. Sometimes someone plays a trick on another cast mate with cameras rolling. Some aren't dangerous at all, simply disgusting and often involving potty humor and (literal) buckets of excrement. Most of these are barely watchable, let alone amusing in the slightest. One of the best parts of the trailer was something known as the "High Five" in which a cast member would be surprised in walking through a door to get a spring-loaded giant hand flying around the corner to knock them silly. And it's the best part of the film. It's also the opener. That's right, they used the very best stunt/trick to open up their precious film. Once I realized this, I was not looking forward to what else they had dredged up for this third film in the series.

The last toga party I hope to EVER attend...
There is one thing this crew does well, and that's build up anticipation for the stunt in question. With few exceptions, most of the stunts are set up well, with the viewer sitting on the edge of his seat waiting for what happens next. The fact that the anticipation almost never pays off in an entertaining stunt is unfortunate, but that anticipation would be the hallmark of a better series. Too often are we told exactly what is going to happen in the setup and the best skits are when we learn the stunt as it happens. Some of the skits are good as well, though very few of them are very memorable. Besides the "High Five", "Electric Avenue" was an entertaining diversion as the Jackass team, clad in prison garb, must make their way through an obstacle-laden hall rigged with tazers and cattle prods. One midget bar fight was actually really clever in its stupidity. And the "Snake Pit" was entertaining if only to see Bam Margera cry like a girl. Probably most importantly, the group are obviously good friends and there's always cheer and goof times even when someone in the group has been pranked. At least if they're going to do these dangerous stunts and break bones (as they do) they obviously have a good time doing it.

But those were the only good things about the film. While seeing Knoxville and crew get knocked around by nature's beasts elicited a few chuckles, the vast majority of what I saw was nigh unwatchable, with the film culminating with the launch into lower orbit of Steve-O in a portable toilet (with plenty of waste on-site). Using high production values to simply fling poo around is not something I usually expect to see when I go to the theater. Okay, that happens sometimes, but it's not usually a literal statement. Also, the incorporation of 3D in this film is a joke. Ninety percent of the time you don't even remember that the film is IN 3D, as only a few scenes actually use it to any real effect. Even those scenes don't need the effect, and it's obvious the 3D aspect was solely brought in to garner additional ticket sales. Even with a "measly" budget of $20 million, the movie FEELS cheap, with only the opening and closing sequences using the technology anywhere near it's full ability, and those sequences fell overwrought and unnecessary in comparison to the rest of the film. And really, do I NEED to see anyone's wang try to hit a ping-pong ball for a home run? Could've skipped that one.

Something wicked this way comes
There's really not a whole lot more to say about this. Not a whole lot I WANT to say about it. It may have had a few tricks up its sleeves to amuse me, but Jackass 3D is overlong, under-funny, and not something I feel good about paying extra of my hard-earned income to see in 3D when I could have streamed whole episodes of the show for close to nothing for the same effect. Worst of all, in a few days I won't be able to tell you anything about the film, so forgettable was most of it, leaving only this blog and a film receipt I've already thrown away as evidence that I was willing to watch this. With many new movies hitting the theaters and several I've been looking forward to for some time, to waste good time and money on a film that doesn't reciprocate the effort I put in just sitting through 94 minutes of mediocrity feels like I've had a crime put upon me. A stupid crime.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to watch Centurion to wipe the stupid still imprinted in my brain.
Hopefully, this is "The End"


elmo said...

See Jackass 2, where they drink horse jizz.

Opinioness of the World said...

Wow, you're a trooper for going to see this garbage. You really WILL go see anything!!

Gianni said...

Thankfully I can close my chapter on Jackass forever now. Thank goodness for half-prices matinees.