Carnival of terrors never gets old

Mick Ferris
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JACKASS FOREVER (18, 96 minutes)

At what point does watching grown men laughing uncontrollably as one of their number takes yet another hit to the nuts stop being funny?

It’s 22 years since Johnny Knoxville and his gang of airheads made their debut on MTV and more than 10 years since their last big screen outing. These once comically reckless skaterbois and oddballs (which by now I expect all of them have after so many strikes to the gonads) are now in their late 40s and, against all odds, most have somehow managed to father children.

Unfortunately, their antics have also sired a generation of substandard impersonators on social media.

The past two decades of outrageous and painful stunts have made them wealthy, but it has come at a cost.

Two of their number are conspicuous by their absence here. Ryan Dunn died in 2011 (along with production assistant Zachary Hartwell) when Dunn’s Porsche hit a tree and burst into flames while driving with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

The loss of one of their most “dangerous” compadres still weighs heavy on the group with Bam Margera in particular descending into a spiral of addiction and mental health problems that he has still not emerged from to the point that he had to be removed from the set of Jackass Forever when it became obvious after one day of shooting that he was not in a fit physical or mental state to be participating.

Meanwhile, leader of the gang, Knoxville, has called a halt to dangerous stunts after an encounter with a bull, seen here in shocking detail, left him with fractured ribs, a broken wrist and a brain hemorrhage that affected his cognitive ability for months after.

Which suggests that at their advancing age, lighting farts underwater, having your penis covered in bees and being blown up in a portable toilet (all Steve-O) is going to tip over from comically immature into pathetic. There’s even a sense of passing on the torch to younger newcomers.

But here’s the thing, somehow it doesn’t, even though you know deep down it should.

After the past couple of years we’re in dire need of an excuse to laugh by whatever means that hits our funny bones, even if that’s a modern day take on The Three Stooges.

For all the pain inflicted there’s a joyous sense to the way they prank each other (Knoxville chasing director Jeff Tremaine with a Taser is a prime example) because beneath these scattergun practical jokes is an underlying story of friendship and brotherhood amongst the primary group of Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Danger Ehren, Dave England, Preston Lacey and Jason “Wee Man” Acuna all connected by the fact that they are just a bit mad.

When does getting hit in the nuts stop being funny? It doesn’t.

So long as it’s someone else’s genitals, of course.

RATING: 8/10


Mick Ferris

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