Jackass: The Movie

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“Jackass: The Movie” begins with the title characters barreling down a street in an over-sized shopping cart, punching each other as cannons shoot chunks of cinder blocks over their heads.

Being dragged behind them, oft-abused and finally defeated, is American culture. May she rest in peace.

“Jackass” is a movie only in the sense that it is projected against movie screens in movie theaters. It does not have a plot or script, and its characters are stuntmen and average Joes, not actors. Its cinematography is negligible, as much of its footage was shot with hidden cameras.

It’s difficult to review it, then, because most of the normal rules do not apply. Is it a “good” movie? Well, no. It’s crass, juvenile and pointless. But does it achieve what it sets out to do, which I assume is to entertain frat boys? Yes.

Johnny Knoxville and his energetic band of beer-fueled revelers use this film to embark on the same types of stunts and pranks that made their MTV series a hit. All that’s different is that the nudity is unblurred — for some reason, most of the stunts require the participants to wear only jockstraps — and the profanity is unbleeped. A good many of the stunts are poop-related, too, which may not have passed muster even with MTV’s lazy, dope-addled censors.

Like “XXX” but without the plot, “Jackass” gives us plenty of explosions, destruction and absurdity. Men dressed in panda suits harass foreigners. Johnny and friends hide on a golf course and sound airhorns at the very moment a golfer takes his swing. Someone goes into a hardware store and, uh, “uses” one of the display toilets.

I have rarely laughed as hard as I did at this movie; however, I have also rarely been as ashamed of my laughter as I was here.

I suspect every viewer will be unable to watch at least one segment. For me, it was the one where Johnny gave himself paper cuts between his fingers and toes. Your mileage may vary.

The impression that many of the daring feats perpetrated in the film had beer behind them is no illusion: The Miller Brewing Co. is specially thanked in the closing credits.

The only way of reviewing this film is to say that if you enjoy the “Jackass” TV show, you will certainly enjoy the movie. It is, basically, the show, only bigger, longer and uncut. We will not address the ramifications of “Jackass” on Western civilization, as to do so would only depress us.

B- (1 hr., 20 min.; R, frequent harsh profanity, abundant non-sexual nudity, abundant self-inflicted violence, crass humor, bodily functions, and so on.)

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