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A Magazine for Sheffield

Jackass Forever

After a decade’s absence, this circus of spectacle exceeds expectations with an incredible amount of heart and genuine showmanship.

Steve O in Jackass Forever

Jackass Forever is not the kind of film that can, nor should be, critiqued in any traditional manner. To do so would be like pulling aside every happy, trick-or-treating child on Halloween and snarking at them for how silly their werewolf costume is, or how their mummy costume is obviously a roll of Andrex. You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but you wouldn’t look much smarter for it.

Jackass Forever is as pragmatic a comedy production as ever there was. Simply, a group of stunt performers undergo all manners of slapstick self-flagelation and degradation for our entertainment, from being strapped into a relatively sophiscated, vaguely Giger-esque underwater fart igniter to the respectable bluntness of a UFC Heavyweight punching someone in the balls.

Jackass Forever is cinema that does more than many of its wide-release blockbuster contemporaries at the box office can claim. Be it disgust, laughter or awe, it will repeatedly, tenderly take a hold of your emotions and never fail to do something deeply provocative with them.

The critical renaissance of the Jackass movies doesn’t come from any kind of meaningful technical or narrative evolution. It's simply the result of a very specific strain of comedy staying true and consistent for more than 20 years, time enough to become a cultural touchstone far bigger than itself, something that increasingly fewer people seem willing to pretend is beneath them.

Nothing about Jackass Forever lies to you. Not one nut shot was tweaked by committee to tease the Jackass+ streaming slate of spin-off shows. Not one animal bite to the face was done in service of expanding the Knoxville Cinematic Universe.

Throughout every single act of indignity, humiliation and violence the Jackass crew put one another through, it's impossible to ignore the pervasive sense of love these performers have for their craft, but more importantly for one another. There is a palpable humanity in the docu-comedy of Jackass Forever that feels just as potent now, as their grey hairs and aching knees set in, as it was in their early-2000s adventures, when it felt like they had all the time in the world.

So if you find that your opinion towards Knoxville & Co has grown fonder, or perhaps wearier, as time has gone by, the truth is that it’s something within you that has changed; because I can promise you that Jackass has not.

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