Vol. 1, Issue #25 Jan. 5th - Jan. 18th, 2007

DVD Review:
Jackass Number Two
By: Wilhelm Murg

No one is on the fence when it comes to “Jackass”; you either love or hate it, and this disc will make you love or hate it even more. I first saw “Number Two” in a packed house the weekend it opened and the audience was laughing harder than I ever heard an audience laugh at the crap Hollywood markets as comedy, and for good reason. It’s like sitting around with some drunken friends who are going balls-to-the-wall just to entertain you. It’s one of the most original films of the decade.

On TV, “Jackass” upped the ante of so-called “reality” television and made it both entertaining and real. While “Survivor” created bad drama out of fake situations with assholes you would never associate with in real life, “Jackass” was immediate, hilarious, the cast was likeable, and the situations were as real as a kick to the nuts. Like some unholy cross between performance art and Keatonic slapstick, the situations are dangerous, unrehearsed, and designed to get out of hand and cause injury. Johnny Knoxville even recreates Buster Keaton’s famous bit with the building frame falling on him as a grand finale in “Number Two”; in the outtakes you get to see what happened when the frame actually does fall on him.

“Number Two” has too many highlights to list, but some of the most impressive pieces include Chris Pontius disguising his penis as a mouse and sticking it through a hole where a hungry snake bites into it and hangs on for dear life as Pontius pulls his bleeding member from the hole while screaming. Steve-O takes a beer bong enema then has a plunger used on his rectum to get it out; in the outtakes he catches some of the beer in a glass, drinks it, and throws up. Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Ryan Dunn take an anti-riot mine, a package of hard rubber balls shot at 500 feet per second, to their bodies, which leaves them withering in pain. After learning how to “milk a horse” for semen Pontius takes a gulp of the rancid fluid and vomits; while the actual drinking was edited out of the film, it appears in all of it’s glory on the unrated DVD.

While these “bits” might sound traumatizing to the uninitiated, the breakneck speed of the editing and the sheer insanity of the concepts make for many sidesplitting, and a few nauseating, moments. I have no doubt that history will be kind to “Jackass Number Two.” After all the poorly stylized attempts by actors to emote pain, it’s refreshing to see someone doubled over with real pain for the sake of a giggle. The secret is the lack of pretension, but then how pretentious can you be while you’re being branded over and over with a hot iron in the shape of a penis?

The unrated DVD offers a lot of extra footage, and continuations of some of the scenes from the theatrical release, and it also includes commentary by most of the cast and a “making of” short. This is the “Gone With The Wind” of gross-out filmmaking, a true masterpiece of gonzo art.

(Unrated) (Paramount)

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