The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever

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The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Dooley Productions/Shutterstock

Contains spoilers for “Jackass Forever”

After 20 years throwing themselves off ramps, getting punched in the nuts, or torturing each other with tasers and snapping turtles, Johnny Knoxville and the gang prove that there’s still life in the old dogs yet with “Jackass Forever.” They might be a little older with a few more gray hairs, but the team still maintains their signature energetic fun from all of the previous movies and the original MTV show. What’s more impressive is that they managed to make “Jackass Forever” in the middle of the pandemic, considering the frankly unsanitary nature of some of the unhinged stunts.

There’s some fresh faces in the crew this time, as they’ve recruited the likes of Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, and Rachel Wolfson to bolster the “Jackass” ranks. Their exuberance and willingness to get stuck in with the gnarliest of stunts is a genuine joy to see, although it’s incredibly wince-worthy at times. It’s clear the entire cast is treating the fourth film as if it’s the last, so every jaw-dropping stunt is cranked up as far as it’ll go. It’s an endurance test for the faint-hearted, and a masterful thrill ride for seasoned fans. That said, there are plenty of misses amid the obvious hits.

Here are the best and worst things in “Jackass Forever.”

Best: The opening scene

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

The opening scene of every “Jackass” movie has always been a truly insane theatrical spectacle, but “Jackass Forever” makes its own mini-monster movie to kick things off. It’s set in a city where most of the cast are milling around when a Kaiju attacks … Well, we say Kaiju, but we really mean Chris Pontius’ crown jewels dressed up to look like Dongzilla. Of course like any good monster flick, a number of these fine citizens get thrown around like ragdolls.

Whether it’s an exploding cinema that hurls Wee Man and Dave England in the air, or Steve-O getting locked in a portaloo (a grim callback to “Jackass 3”), it’s a wild introduction. Of course the military arrive — led by Johnny Knoxville himself — to open fire on the ballsy beast. To say anymore would ruin the brilliant absurdity of the whole thing. The entire skit elevates Chris Pontius’ penis-puppetry to a whole new level, while letting audiences know what they’re in for.

Worst: The Spider-Bowl

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The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

The Spider-Bowl is just pure nightmare fuel, no matter how you look at it. The premise is simple: Danger Ehren and Compston “Darkshark” Wilson sit opposite each other with their heads in helmets that are connected by a tube — and they have to blow a tarantula into the other person’s helmet. Terrifying. This one adds a sinister level to the carnage, because it’s the type of stunt that forces the audience to imagine themselves in the situation — and yes, the same can be said for many “Jackass” stunts — but this one just feels a lot more intense.

Especially when Knoxville makes a point of showing off the tarantula’s fangs up close, which is a heck of a thing to see on the big screen. It’s nerve-shredding to watch, partly because the different camera angles show off the terror in Ehren and Wilson’s faces as they desperately squirm to get the spider away from them. Arachnophobes will not have a good time with this one.

Best: The elaborate snake room trick

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Jeff Tremaine and the “Jackass” crew have always enjoyed designing elaborate gags wherein the cast members think they’re doing one thing, but really it’s something much, much worse. One such prank is the snake room trick. They’re each led into a room, shown a barrel that holds a deadly rattlesnake — also noting that they’ll need anti-venom if it bites them — before the light goes off and they’re left in the dark. What they don’t know is that barrels are swapped out, and there is no snake, just a sneaky Johnny Knoxville who lurks in the room with a pair of night-vision goggles.

It’s the type of childish fun that has always made “Jackass” great, as the impish Knoxville teases his friends by throwing rubber snakes at them and generally attacking them while they can’t see. It only escalates when they think they’ve found an exit door away from the ‘snake room’ only to find themselves in another dark room full of mouse traps and thumbtacks. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next.

Worst: The Animal Cruelty

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The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

The only major problem “Jackass Forever” has is the way it relies on riling up different animals and insects to get a laugh out of the audience. Sure, watching Danger Ehren get trapped in a room with a bear as he’s covered in honey and meat is hilarious, but it also feels incredibly mean toward the bear. The idea is to tease the bear into eating the food off of Ehren, while hoping to scare the man half to death. It’s not exactly the same as forcing the bear to dance — but it’s not far off.

The same can also be said for the tarantula in the Spider-Bowl, it’s getting blown through a tube between two human beings which are considerably larger than it — of course it’s going to get angry. There’s also a vulture that pecks at Wee Man’s meat-covered crotch — again, it’s incredibly easy to laugh at, but it does make you feel a little sorry for the giant bird.

It’s worth noting that the animals always get the last laugh when it comes to these kinds of stunts, since they all get to peck, bite, scratch, or head butt the “Jackass” boys and girls without hesitation.

Best: The weirdly wholesome nature of the gang

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Sure, the gang of pranksters thrive off of torturing one another in varying degrees of insanity — but it’s weirdly wholesome. They’re all working together to create something truly special, the act of pulling off absurd stunts and pranks that are guaranteed to get a laugh out of the audience. They embody that teenage sense of rebellion, as they find fun in doing stupid things simply because they can — and because they’re funny. It’s genuinely joyful to see them pull off moments like the underwater fart explosion (yes, you read that right). Because as painful as some of the pranks and stunts are, they’re all in it together.

On the other side of the screen, “Jackass Forever” is the type of movie that truly unites the audience. Because every time someone slams into the ground after leaping from a ramp, or someone gets hit in the junk for the millionth time — the collective wince and guffaw brings everyone together.

You heard it here first, “Jackass Forever” is one of the most wholesome movies of 2022.

Worst: Johnny Knoxville's concussion

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Another concerning moment in “Jackass Forever” comes when Johnny Knoxville once again gets into the ring with a bull. He’s done the stunt several times before, but the one in the fourth movie is no laughing matter. The performer is dressed as a magician when the bull just ploughs through him, sending Knoxville high into the air. Upon landing, the star breaks his wrist, a rib, and also gets a severe concussion. It’s painful to watch, but it’s made worse by Knoxville’s comments on the press tour for the movie.

Knoxville opened up about the stunt on Howard Stern’s radio show: “Yeah, I got a brain hemorrhage from that. So my cognitive abilities were in steep decline after that hit.” He then added, “I got really depressed and over-focused on things … I did have to start medication for the first time in my life.” So it’s hard to find the joy in seeing the bull throw him in the air knowing that the ramifications of the scene were pretty severe.

If this film has taught us anything, it’s, “Don’t try this at home, kids” — even if you do have a lovable group of rogues around you.

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