The review you are about to read is one person's opinion, and should not be taken offensively...
At this point, I suspect you already know what "Jackass" is, if you're a fan of it or not. After all, this is the tenth year that they've been working together. When I say "they", I'm referring to the strange conglomeration of personalities that, taken as a whole, constitutes what we know as "Jackass". This would include, but not limited to, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, "Danger" Ehren, Preston Lacy, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave Englund, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine. It's not considered far-fetched to believe that they've received a full decade of media life out of their shocking stunts and multitude of shenanigans. Most of which basically consist of either hitting each other, making each other do things that will make them throw vomit, or putting life and limb in harm's way. Add some boners and poop, and that's pretty much it.
Beavis and Butthead open the show with a joke about the whole 3D craze. Then it dives right into the pranks, with Bam running on screen dressed like a giant cupcake. Now, let's not forget the two new technical tools that have been added to their bag of tricks. Also, the new-found sobriety of Steve-O and, by extension, the rest of the cast, produces a revitalizing energy that makes the whole enterprise feel fresh. Obviously, the title "Jackass 3D" is pretty self-explanatory as to this film's primary focus; which is playing with the new 3D technology in a number of stomach-churning sketches. Also, the way Tremaine incorporated the Phantom camera, a slow-motion rig that shoots 1000 frames per second, allowing for the absolute clearest slow-motion footage of all time is equally as impressive. Combine the three, and you're seeing things that no one has ever seen before.
The sobriety aspect also plays into it in a big way. When you're watching these guys throw themselves into a stunt with reckless abandon, knowing that they're terrified because they're going to feel every single thing that happens and there won't be anything to numb them... that's flat out hilarious. You find yourself saying "This lot is as dumb s***". The more it hurts, or the more terrifying something is, the funnier it becomes. And there are some gags that they've devised this time that I can't even imagine being a part of. "The Beehive Tetherball", "The Invisible Man", or "Electric Avenue" work as well as they do because of the inherent "pucker" factor to each of them. Even one of the laziest gags in the movie, playing off of Bam Margera's fear of snakes, works as well as it does because of Bam's pure primeval fear. By the moment we see Steve-O shaking in fear before a sketch, miserably asking the existential question, "Why do I have to be Steve-O?", I think "Jackass 3D" has taken its place of victory as one of the finest moments in the history of the series so far.
Although this film is on the far edge of the R-rating, just as the first two were, this one seems less pervasively filthy than the second film. There's a willingness to be silly that has been missing from "Jackass" for a while, and is now back this time, with a vengeance. Another thing that's different is the unity on display. For years now, "Jackass" has been a collection of smaller groups within the main group; which is not uncommon in any large comedy collective such as this. Shows like "Viva La Bam" and "Nature Boyz" didn't help in the previous movies, as the guys weren't geographically together at all. Here, they seem to spend most of the duration of the film together again, giving each guy an audience during the various bits. It's truly infectious and feels like a party again.
"Jackass" stands apart from similar shows and imitators because of the particular personalities involved, and because of the surreal sensibility that has always been such a big part of the show. Anyone can do a physical stunt, but these guys always build the framework around the joke that takes it two or three steps beyond. And during the closing moments of the film, as they essentially unleash a soundstage apocalypse, leading into a closing credits sequence set to Weezer's "Memories" that features footage from the full decade they've been shooting, there's a poignancy I wouldn't have expected from "Jackass.", EVER! I think it's because we've watched these guys get older without growing up one little bit, and since we can't all get away with that, there is a freedom and, yes, a beauty to watching someone else pull it off.
Every time the cast of "Jackass" gets kicked in the balls, remember this... They're taking that nut shot for you. And I hope they keep doing it until Knoxville doesn't need old man make-up anymore.
"Jackass 3D" opens everywhere 10/15/2010
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