Friday, 19 January 2007

Jackass Number 2 (2006)

It may be crude, silly, and vomit-inducing, but you will laugh. Yes, you will!

A wise friend of mine quoted an even wiser friend of his: "Women show affection for same sex friends by edifying them and buying them presents, while men show affection for same sex friends by insulting them and physically tormenting them." You know it’s true: only best friends taupok and pillar their other best friends, and close fraternal ties can only be formed through great pain and humiliation. It’s not a mystery why your closest army buddy is the one who suffered next to you during BMT, and your closest university mate is the one whom you wrestled naked during the initiation ritual to the fraternity club. That’s why, watching Jackass number two, one gets the impression that Knoxville has such great affection for his fellow cast that it’s almost Brokebackian.

Now, let me explain: Like its predecessor, Jackass Number Two has no climax, no plot, and no point, and consists of various stunts where Knoxville and friends put themselves in danger of bodily harm for a couple of laughs. Often, they wince in pain or vomit copiously from the sheer disgusting nature of their jokes, but intriguingly, the Jackass gang seem to get their biggest kick out of when their pranks involve the following: injury to someone’s sexual organs, ass (yes, someone’s ass gets torn in the first 10 minutes), or stunts involving defecation and ingestion of semen. That’s not counting the heavily suggestive undertones of stunts involving grabbing anaconda snakes in a pit full of balls, or phallic shaped rockets, or branding someone’s buttocks with a brand shaped like a male sexual organ, or ride too many phallic shaped rockets. It’s as though Knoxville and gang really like the idea of having things done to each other, but are too all-American to do it with each other – hence the very indirect methods (a horse, a brand, a dildo!). Like I said, there’s something very Brokebackian about Jackass Number Two.

Or, you could see Jackass number two as a really entertaining movie where Knoxville and friends prove that half a century after the very physical comedy of the Marx Brothers and the violence in the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, it’s still possible to get people in the mood to laugh when someone on screen suffers pain, and laugh even louder when someone on screen suffers pain to his family jewels.

That being said, the jokes do get repetitive after the first hour, and some of the pranks and stunts aren't as outrageous and insane as either the first Jackass or the original television series. People who are hooked online will know that Youtube has a vast collection of videos done by amateurs - similar in terms of both video quality and concept, and may find Jackass Part Two to be slightly antiquated. Otherwise, you’ll be mortified, horrified and shocked into having the best laugh of your movie-going year.

First published at incinemas on 25 January 2007

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