After over ten years, the Jackass crew is finally back. They may be older, but they're certainly not wiser, and we couldn't be more grateful. Jackass Forever sees the return of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Preston Lacy, and Ehren McGhehey AKA Danger Ehren. The group got their start over 20 years ago on MTV thanks to their shared love of stunts, skateboarding, and pulling pranks. From 2000 to 2010, Jackass stuck the landing with so many wild and crazy tricks and capers that fans have wondered what insane bits they still had in them after all these years. Jackass Forever features a lot of the same old staples ranging from people getting shot out of canons to unfortunate mishaps with porta-potties. However, it doesn't matter how many times we've seen Ponitus whip out his junk or Knoxville encounter a ferocious bull... Jackass Forever maintains the franchise's hilarity and charm. Watching Jackass Forever feels like reuniting with old friends, and it's already a strong contender for the best comedy of the year.
There are so many delightful moments in Jackass Forever, but its opening might be the most memorable of the film series. Without giving too much away, the crew goes all out for a Godzilla-themed extravaganza that immediately proves these guys haven't slowed down. Jeff Tremaine helped create Jackass and has helmed all four films, and he's proven once again that no one else could capture the iconic group's shenanigans with such love and precision. Tremaine is a great sport who has had his fair share of Jackass torments over the years, and it's nice to know that he's as much a part of the team as the men who keep putting their lives on the line in order to entertain.
Jackass Forever is the reunion fans have been waiting for, but you can't help but feel the holes left by those who aren't involved. Bam Margera was fired from the film, and while you can still spot him in the movie if you look close enough, it did feel strange not seeing him with the team. This is especially true considering so many of the best Jackass moments over the years have involved Bam's parents, April and Phil. You can't help but miss April's shrieks and Phil's shocking patience, and we can only hope things with the Margeras clear up in time for a potential fifth movie. However, the real missing piece in Jackass Forever was Ryan Dunn, who passed away shortly after making the third movie. Dunn had such a lovable, playful presence and it's hard not to get a little sad thinking about how he would have reacted to some of the best Jackass Forever moments.
While the movie has some absences, it also has some exciting new blood. Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Sean "Poopies" McInerney, Zach Holmes, and Jasper are all featured in the new film and they each bring their own brand of fun. It's especially exciting to see Wolfson taking part in the film considering Jackass has always been a boy's club. Women love Jackass, too, and getting to see ourselves represented in such a wacky environment is extremely refreshing. All of the newbies get a chance to shine, and they fit in with the original crew effortlessly. It's hard to imagine just how intimidating it must be to join a group that's not only notoriously tight-knit but also extremely chaotic and full of not-so-pleasant surprises. While we're hoping for more Jackass with the original crew, having the newcomers continue the legacy would also be a welcome addition to the franchise.
Naturally, all of the original stars shine in the film, but Danger Ehren was really put through the wringer this time around and deserves a special shout-out. Many of the cruelest pranks and gnarliest stunts fall on McGhehey, but he's never gotten the same level of credit as some of the bigger names in the group. Prepare yourself for "The Cup Test," because you might end up pulling a Lance Bangs (the cinematographer who is always throwing up).
While Jackass Forever doesn't reinvent the wheel, it's just as joyous as the films that came before. It's full of non-stop laughs, charm, and love. If you're able to see it in a theater, you absolutely should, because there's nothing quite like the shared experience of laughing and cringing at the Jackass crew's unmatched resilience and charisma.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jackass Forever releases exclusively in theaters on February 4th.