I love the spirit of Jackass, but sometimes they take things a bit too far. Jackass: Number Two is inferior to its predecessor because it tries a too hard to up the ante with the gross-out stuff. For me, the moments where Johnny Knoxville and his crew put themselves in good old-fashioned physical peril are far more engaging than somebody taking a huge shit on screen.
I’ll start with a couple of big complaints, other than the whole on-screen shitting stuff. Complaint No. 1: Hardly any Party Boy! He only shows up in a little Bollywood moment, but he never rubs his junk on any innocent bystanders. Yes, Chris Pontius does plenty of gross stuff in the film, but his Party Boy alter ego has been suppressed. I totally wanted him to strip off his clothes, get down to the thong and dry hump some Japanese guys.
Complaint No. 2: Yes, physical peril can be funny, but what’s with all the ass fixation this time out? Steve-O takes a beer siphon up the ass, Bam Margera gets a dildo rammed into his butt, which also gets a dick-shaped branding. Finally, Knoxville farts with baby powder up his ass so that it makes a poof—OK, that was pretty funny. One butt violation per cinematic experience, please. I’d say none, but clearly these guys want some nasty acts done to their asses, so we’ll allow for one.
Now, when the movie doesn’t involve poo and assholes, it’s actually quite fun to watch. Knoxville, whose film career hasn’t exactly skyrocketed since the 2002 original, is a freaking maniac this time out. The single most amazing Jackass stunt I’ve seen yet involves him putting on a bright red shirt and blindfold, lighting a cigarette and waiting for a bull to gore him.
The stance Knoxville takes before he gets nailed by the animal is a hilarious moment of fear and resolution. Quite justifiably, the guy doesn’t look happy at all. When the bull nails him, he does a full flip in the air and then takes additional hits as the animal tries to trample him. The movie actually starts with another bull sequence, in which the whole crew is running from a herd, each guy getting his ass kicked. The sequence ends with Knoxville screaming a welcome to the audience and getting run over.
Another Knoxville stunt involves him strapping himself to a rocket and getting blasted into the sky, Evel Knievel style. The stunt takes two tries—an initial misfire could’ve blown a hole in him, and he willingly goes for take two. The resultant blast-off makes Knoxville the craziest one in the bunch, no contest.
Steve-O, who’s usually up for the most dangerous and sickest gags, probably takes second to Knoxville this time out. Besides the disgusting aforementioned “Butt Chug,” he puts a large hook through his cheek and uses himself for bait as a series of sharks try to bite his legs off. He is one lucky bastard because a determined Mako nearly succeeds in getting his foot.
As for the gross-out stuff, the grandest moment is a sequence involving an ejaculating horse and the subsequent consumption of the deposit. Chris Pontius takes a gulp and expresses his disgust with himself, while stating that what he had drunk was definitely semen. Sure, it’s perverse bestiality in a mainstream movie, but these guys somehow make this sort of thing funny.
There’s an elaborate sight gag involving one of the guys from Broken Lizard and a beard made of pubic hair, plenty of moderately funny stuff with Spike Jonze dressed as an old lady and a very funny moment where Knoxville, dressed in old-age makeup, plays the world’s worst grandfather. Moments like these put the movie over-the-top as a whole. But, again, if they show another guy dropping a load on the movie screen, I will have to boycott them forever.