There's a Feel-Good Vibe to the Jackass Pain

Fourth installment is a hilarious 'protest against maturity': critics
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2022 11:42 AM CST

(Newser) – The Jackass crew is older though apparently not much wiser in Jackass Forever, the fourth film in the main series and the first since 2010's Jackass 3D. Johnny Knoxville and Stephen "Steve-O" Glover, now with gray hair, reunite with most of the old crew members plus some newbies—including the first female crew member, Rachel Wolfson—for a wide range of stunts, some with celebrity victims. The director is again Jeff Tremaine. It's all for our pleasure—and critics and audiences are cackling, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Four takes:

  • "It's gross. It's childish. It's like coming home again," writes Kristy Puchko at Mashable. "Animal bites, blows to the balls, and lightning-fast collisions with water, walls, and a rampaging bull" are "all the more eye-popping" when "captured in exquisitely shot slow-motion," Puchko writes. The result is "sublimely stupid," "side-splittingly funny," and "genuinely comforting, maybe even inspiring."

  • "The Jackass ethos—that none of us are so precious that we can't survive a snake bite or a pogo stick to the groin—still has charm," writes Jake Coyle at the AP. But "what began as gonzo stunts carried out with the fearlessness of youth have steadily morphed into a protest against maturity," he adds. "One line more or less sums up their predicament: "He's bleeding. My hairline is receding."

  • Part of what helps Jackass stand above its competitors is "the crew's friendship, which is evident as they egg on the wounded and apply a healing salve of applause in nearly every scene," writes Amy Nicholson at the New York Times. "Bones get brittle"—indeed, 50-year-old Knoxville is badly banged up by a bull, marking his exit from the series for good, Nicholson writes—but "the heart muscle remains strong."

  • The core crew keeps it all "embarrassingly pleasurable," writes Stephanie Zacharek at Time. "Their eagerness to do ridiculous things is twinned with their willingness to be viewed as ridiculous men—and if that's pure, exhibitionist attention-seeking, it's also the opposite of toxic masculinity." As for the gags, too many details would only spoil them. "You must see the Vomitron and the Skateboard Guillotine for yourself to fully grasp their willful absurdity."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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