Let me start this review by saying that I was born female and I identify as female. Jackass, the MTV hit show that also got several movie spin-offs, has always been almost 100% male and if you really want to get into it, quintessentially about masculinity itself. It's also very funny if you're into a group of guys trying to violate their own and their mates' bodies. But the reason I feel the need to clarify my sex and gender here is that I have and will never know what it's like to be hit in the balls, because I don't have any. But Jackass Forever brings me as close to that as humanly and scientifically possible with its several slow-mo, close-up shots of testicles being crushed under various objects.
Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Wee Man and co. (plus some newbies) are back with more gross antics, most of them involving genitalia. There is no plot or narrative to Jackass Forever because it doesn't need it and it's not part of the brand. It's a series of vignettes that push the human body to the absolute maximum. So if you're not already a fan of Jackass, Forever probably won't convert you but for the fans, this is as good as it gets.
What's remarkable about Jackass Forever, is just how sweet it is. Amongst all the poo and sick, it's just a bunch of friends taking the piss out of each other, but they're also there to help their mate once the stunt is over. “You're done, you're done” Knoxville calmingly says to someone after they've just seen their life flash before their eyes. There is a sense of bittersweetness to Forever; the guys aren't getting any younger and it's not sustainable to keep doing stunts this extreme on this level for very long. This could be the very last time we see the group together on the big screen.
And how are the stunts you may ask? Gross. Vile. Disgusting. Sickening. And exactly what you want from a Jackass film. The amount of testicles that get ruined in this film is rather astounding and as a woman, I felt my imaginary, very not-real balls ache in unison when Ehren McGheney completed the brutal Cup Test. Jackass Forever is a physical film experience, something that should absolutely be seen with a packed audience that laughs, cheers and retches along with you and the Jackass boys.
For the very first time, there is a female Jackass present and while Rachel Wolfson isn't given that much to do, much like the other newbies, it's fun to see them shake things up a bit. Ultimately, this is about an old group of friends coming back together, possibly for the last time. Knoxville is more of a host than a participant, but his final stunt is probably his most shocking and violent one yet. The film also includes a multitude of brief celebrity cameos that add very little to the film, apart from a few ‘Hey, it's that guy!' moments.
Although the credits claim no animals were harmed in the making of Jackass Forever, its treatment of animals remains concerning and problematic. The animals used are purposely put into distress to get the needed reaction out of them which seems needless when a large portion of the stunts simply involve the guys hitting each other with something.
Jackass Forever is pretty much exactly what you'd want and need from a Jackass film. It's winning combination of testicles, cum and giggles proves weirdly sweet here and it's exactly that sweetness that carries the film's 90 minute runtime, even when the laughs and stunts grow old and familiar.
Jackass Forever is in cinemas February 4.