Jackass Number Two

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Photo: Johnny Knoxville: Ben Kaller

The first Jackass, released in 2002, is maybe the most laugh-out-loud, sidesplitting movie of the last couple of years. There, I said it. I’m sorry, but trampolining into a ceiling fan is simply brilliant. It’s performance art. But, unlike most films I love, I’ve never been compelled to watch Jackass twice. A dude snorting wasabi will not pay dividends over and over again — and therein lies one of its limitations as art. The shock is all.

Jackass Number Two is not as original, aberrantly beautiful, unrepetitious, or good as Jackass Number One, yet it will still double a lot of people over with big laughs and grossed-out disbelief. The sequel again finds Johnny Knoxville and his cackling buddies torturing each other in tastelessly innovative ways, and even if you can’t stomach (or stand) what they’re up to, you still have to admit that these goons execute their gags exceptionally well. Knoxville alone face-plants into asphalt, gets bitten by an anaconda (twice), gets gored (more than once) by a bull, drinks horse semen, punches a bear trap, and just hangs on for dear life as a big red rocket launches him high up over a lake. How — especially after two movies — is he or someone from his crew not dead eight times over? Something about these movies blows my mind, and maybe it’s that, as crude as they are, they make me believe in the existence of a watchful God.

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