THE STORY – Celebrate the joy of a perfectly executed shot to the groin as Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and the rest of the gang return for another round of hilarious, wildly absurd and often dangerous displays of stunts and comedy.
THE CAST – Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren, Preston Lacy, Sean McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka & Compston Wilson
THE TEAM – Jeff Tremaine (Director/Writer), Andrew Weinberg, Colton Dunn, Derrick Beckles, Eric André, Knate Gwaltney, Nick Kreiss, Sarah Sherman, Johnny Knoxville & Spike Jonze
THE RUNNING TIME – 96 Minutes
By Matt Neglia
”20 years later, and we’re still doing the same shit.”
It’s true. Over twenty years later, the Jackass crew are still finding creatively shocking ways to put their bodies through hell for our entertainment. Those hoping for a radically different kind of “Jackass” film with “Jackass Forever” might be disappointed. Sure, the crew is older, and there are some new cast members, but the formula works, so why tinker with it? As a result, if you’re not already a fan of what Johnny Knoxville and co. are putting out there for your entertainment, then you most likely will not be won over with the fourth feature film in their long-running franchise. Longtime fans, though, who know what to expect heading in will probably get exactly what they are hoping for: lots of laughter and squirming.
Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren, and Preston Lacy are joined by Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Eric Andre, Compston “Dark Shark” Wilson (Jasper’s father) and a few others for another film of wildly dangerous stunts.
Despite some members of the crew pushing fifty years of age (jokes are made at the expense of Knoxville’s bald spot, and it’s hard not to notice his changing hair color throughout the movie), none of them have lost one bit of their juvenile humor as “Jackass Forever” opens up with a b-level kaiju sequence set in a stereotyped Japan with rough visual effects, miniatures, puppets, and a penis-shaped monster. This is not the last time we’ll see male nudity in “Jackass Forever,” as nearly every stunt features some form of it in one way or another. The crew is determined to push themselves to the limit, trying to outdo what they achieved before, and the results are excruciatingly painful to watch.
Many of the stunts are retreads of what we’ve seen before, such as Knoxville going head to head with angry bull or Danger Ehren performing “The Cup Test” (where he allows a UFC Heavyweight fighter, a professional softball pitcher, hockey player, and pogo stick all hit him directly in the nuts). It’s here where “Jackass Forever” can start to feel like it’s spinning its wheels a bit. Still, then we get something highly original and hilarious, such as “The Silence Of The Lambs,” where members of the crew are trapped in a pitch-black room with a dangerous snake and other shenanigans. At the same time, Knoxville looks on gleefully with night vision goggles as he psychologically tortures them for his and our amusement. Another memorable stunt also involves Ehren (who I’m tempted to say is the MVP of this particular film for the unimaginable pain he put himself through) getting tortured by Knoxville in a chair, and as he’s bound with a shock collar around his neck, a wild bear is them unleashed upon him.
Some of these stunts are so death-defying you honestly start to wonder if and how something can go wrong, and there are a few times in “Jackass Forever” where the crew is genuinely hurt. It’s in these moments, though, that we also see how much they all care for each other when either a stunt goes right or horribly wrong. This sense of camaraderie is the feel-good emotion that makes the arrival of “Jackass Forever” perfectly timed, especially when so many of us are dealing with hardship and isolation due to the pandemic. Reuniting with old friends through mindless, nostalgia, and fun is something that I didn’t know I needed right now until I was sitting and watching “Jackass Forever,” nearly choking on my popcorn in the process.
“Jackass Forever” delivers exactly what you’d expect with minor tweaks here and there. Knoxville’s “Bad Grandpa” character Irving Zisman shows up for a brief skit. Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, and Rachel Wolfson all help to bring new blood (literally and figuratively) to the chaos that is the world of “Jackass.” Jasper’s father, in particular, who goes by the nickname Dark Shark, makes quite an impression in his few segments as the straight man who gets directly involved in some of the stunts despite not being as game for them as the rest of the crew. There are also a few guest appearances made by Eric Andre, Tony Hawk, Mat Hoffman, Machine Gun Kelly, and others. Despite all of these additions and the exclusions of original member Bam Margera, who was famously fired during production in 2021, and Ryan Dunn, who tragically lost his life in a car crash in 2011 (there is a brief but sweet tribute to him during the credits), this is still the same “Jackass” that you all know and love.
Heading in, I was expecting a more reflective movie given how old everyone is getting and how much has changed over the years but what “Jackass Forever” proves is that some things don’t need to change, no matter how old you get or how much the world around you changes. By the time “Jackass Forever” reaches its explosion, paintball, vomit-filled finale, you can’t help but have a smile on your face. These crazy people are still providing us with the same high-risk, high-reward entertainment we’ve been receiving for over twenty years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – If you’re already a fan, then you know exactly what you’re in for and you’ll most likely get what you want from Knoxville, Steve-O and the rest of the crazy crew. New cast members help freshen things up.
THE BAD – If you’re hoping for the “Jackass” formula to change given how much older everyone is getting and how much the world around them has changed, then this will not be the movie for you. Some stunts feel repetitive and not as wildly ambitious as others.
THE FINAL SCORE – 6/10