For everyone who chose not to chance COVID and show up in theaters to make “Jackass Forever” a box-office-boosting hit back in February, I get it.
One could get downright sentimental over the idea that these lovable louts literally saved the cinema, that the “old men” among them had done their doofus duty, pummeled, blown-up, bitten and battered for our entertainment, probably for the last time. But not everybody felt safe going.
And it’s just as understandable that Johnny Knoxville, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña, “Danger” Ehren McGhehey, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy and the newcomers wouldn’t want all their trials, tests and injuries to have been for naught. Thus, “Jackass 4.5,” a film of reminiscences surrounded by stunts not good enough to make the theatrical release, was assembled for Netflix. I get that, too.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Most of these gags didn’t make the “movie” for a reason. And those that did and are recycled here don’t add up to the same sort of experience “Forever” delivered.
Guys, you already dropped the mike. There’s no coming back on stage and stumbling, kicking it around as you try to pick it up again.
We see 2019 “test footage” where producer Spike Jonze, directed Jeff Tremaine and white-haired, gaunt, bespectacled and 50 year-old Knoxville started shooting to see “if this was still funny” and “if we had a movie” in all of their tomfoolery.
And we’re treated to entire bits that didn’t make the theatrical feature — a jokey electric eel shock stunt with Wee Man dressed as Ben Franklin, subjecting a castmate to jolts via a brass key inserted up the lad’s anus. I think that was “Danger” Ehren on the receiving end of that “prod.” He’s the stand-out in much of what’s seen here, a man they love to abuse and who takes it (mostly) like a good sport.
“Ehren was amazing in ‘Jackass Forever,'” Knoxville notes. “He didn’t MEAN to be.”
There’s “Hot Sauce Enemas,” which is exactly as titled, with the added bonus of popsicles on offer to cool off the nether regions scorched by having sauce piped up four Jackass’s poop-shoots.
It’s easy to see why Knoxville’s disguised stunts — dressed as Old Man Irving Zissman for assorted pranks on hapless recruits who don’t recognize him — were ditched for “Forever.” They aren’t funny enough.
The big finish this time out is mainly all about the build-up of subjecting streetwise Dark Star, father of newbie Jasper and a man who has survived multiple gunshot wounds, to his first ever taste of skydiving. The build-up is OK, the payoff anticlimactic.
That seems all too appropriate for “Jackass 4.5,” a movie with some funny new bits, some new gross bits and a lot of guys (and newcomer Rachel Wolfson) standing around cackling, mostly at stunts we already saw in “Jackass Forever.”
Rating: TV-MA, violence, nudity, nude-violence and ensuing profanity
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Rachel Wolfson, Chris Pontius, and Eric Andre.
Credits: Directed by Jeff Tremaine. A Paramount picture released on Netflix.
Running time: 1:30