Jackass (R) ★★½

Review Date: October 28th, 2002

Johnny Knoxville and his crew take the concept of the MTV show Jackass to the big screen--but beware. The makers want you to know that it hasn't been edited for television.

Story

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to hurl yourself into a spinning ceiling fan or snort a line of wasabi, then Jackass: The Movie is right up your alley. Paramount Pictures and MTV Films have released the big screen adaptation of the series featuring a bunch of guys doing really gross and often dangerous stunts--all for your viewing pleasure. Here, series regulars including Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, and Jason 'Wee Man' Acuna perform stunts they say couldn't be done on network television. In one gag, for example, Dunn inserts a toy car up his butt then visits an x-ray specialist to complain about some mysterious pain. When the doc shows him the x-ray with the silhouette of the car clearly visible, Dunn asks him how it could have gotten there, to which the doc replies in all seriousness, ''Maybe you stuck it up your ass.'' The lowbrow pranks, however, are nothing compared to having to watch the Jackass crew's pasty, white butt cheeks as they prance around in thongs throughout the majority of the film. If you can stomach that, then you're ready for anything.

Acting

When Knoxville wanted to turn his practical jokes into a career, he approached Big Brother magazine editor Jeff Tremaine about turning his antics into a column. Tremaine instead suggested he videotape his stunts and the two released the Big Brother Video Trilogy, which quickly became an underground hit. It's nice to see that despite his cult status and MTV fame, Knoxville (whose real name is Philip John Clapp) is not above performing some of the movie's worst stunts, including getting a beating from heavyweight boxer Eric ''Butterbean'' Esch, which sends him to the emergency room. It is interesting to see the personalities of the some of the Jackass crew emerge, like Steve-O's. Initially, he was supposed to be the one pulling off the toy car prank, but he backs out on camera citing health concerns. But later on we find out Steve-O simply didn't want to disappoint his father and drew the line at that stunt. Look out for some great cameos, including BMX pro Matt Hoffman, skateboarder Tony Hawk and former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins.

Direction

Tremaine, who directed the film, stays true to the series and delivers a movie that pretty much resembles an extended episode with wackier stunts. The footage is shot in the same fashion, with hand-held cameras and spy cams hidden in oversized hats. Although the first few gags are not the best (neither are the ones involving animals, which are sad rather than outrageous), the film eventually unleashes its goodies, saving the best for last. By the warning that flashes on the screen at the beginning of the film, it's clear that everyone involved has a sense of humor about it. It reads: ''The following stunts were performed by professionals, so for your safety and the protection of those around you, Paramount Pictures and MTV Films insist that neither you or your dumb little buddies attempt any of what you're about to see.''

Bottom Line

Fans of the MTV series Jackass--probably the only audience for this film--will not be disappointed. Just remember to sit through the credits because there is a great scene tagged on at the very end involving the crew set some 50 years into the future.