[Gabe Liedman is a stand-up comedian. In his new column, he takes on the genre of Dude Flicks, where guns, pecs, car crashes and glib one-liners delivered in front of a burning building with only half a t-shirt on and nothing left to lose reign supreme. He loves those movies for so many reasons, all of which are that they turn him ON.]
You know when you are super, crazy horny, and you figure ‘I should take care of this the old fashioned way,’ so you pull down your pants and begin masturbating by flattening your penis with a big heavy shovel? While all your boyfriends from teen rehab stand around screaming you on, wearing their underpants and filming you? And then you look up and the wall behind you is maroon, so probably you are at the MTV LA office in Santa Monica? And then a check for $20 million falls out of your jockstrap and you’re like “I should cash this”? Ooooh, man. Jackass 3D is “about” pretty much that, if it’s “about” anything, which it decidedly, on-purposely, is not, and never ever was.
Everyone in the entire world is familiar with Jackass by now (I’m looking at you, Ivan Mishukov, feral child from Russia in the mid-‘90’s, raised by wild dogs), and what it is: a mass-distributed Craigslist ad for straightgayboiz into circle jerks, CBT (cock and ball torture, for the uninitiated), and hazing roleplay. Now, ten years after their first video Valentines to the E.R. Urologists of West Chester, PA, aired on MTV, distracting us from the impending e-doom of Y2K, the boys (in various stages of fitness and chemical dependency) are back in stunning 3D, to show us what flaccid dicks, human shit, vomit, piss and tears REALLY look like. Yeah: that’s right, there’s a ton of flaccid dick in Jackass 3D.
The “movie” opens with a PSA from co-mayors of MTV’s closet of past-goodnesses, Beavis and Butthead, who don’t explain how 3D movies work, just that you should wear 3D glasses when you see a 3D movie. Neat!
Then, all the Jackasses come marching out in front of a giant rainbow mural and get hit in the faces and body parts with various objects. Stuff breaks, they get hurt, all in EXTREME slow motion which captures every flesh-ripple and miniscule expression of “OOOOUCH WHAT?!” on their battered faces. This EXTREME slow motion proves to be the “movie”’s greatest artistic add-on (so much art already to add on to), more so than the 3D, because without it, most of the cool 3D shit would be like ‘yeah, who cares? Nice dick though!!!!’ Also, here’s where you get to see what everyone looks like right now. Johnny Knoxville is in Hollywood shape, Wee Man is much more confident and healthy-seeming, Steve-O is off the hooch, Pontius is cute but seems the most annoying because he’s wearing a bikini (and will again, for no reason), Dave England is in nice shape still and has real teeth, and Ryan Dunn has a long beard now and is definitely (beyond) the hottest in the clique (I want him to lock me in his Echo Park log cabin and use my whole body as his bong while we listen to M Ward bootlegs), and has the least current photos online.
Then the Jackassing begins in earnest. The Jackasses do plenty of good-ol’ hitting each other in the face with different stuff (a human hand, a giant spring-loaded sculpture of a human hand straight out of Double Dare, cattle prods), letting animals hurt each other pretty badly (a tetherball full of Africanized bees, a grown ram who doesn’t like that you’re playing the tuba at him so loud, a buffalo who hates your pink sweater and rollerskates), and obvsnodoy falling off of random things while trying to jump over or into something weird (skateboards, wheelbarrows, jet skis, oh my!).
There’s also a return to Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze’s perverted old people drag show (in one sketch, Knoxville gets super sexual with a young girl pretending to be his granddaughter in public, perhaps a shout-out to Bam Margera’s real-life uncle Don Vito who’s in jail for groping two 12-year-old-girls and then pissing himself at an autograph signing in Colorado?), and one of the Jackasses lets another one rip his tooth out with a Lamborghini (FAAAANCY). Pretty typical Jackassery; amateur stuff, sexually, but the bread and butter of whatever’s keeping this shit from being rated XXX.
But, then there’s the rest of it—the Jackassery that separates the “movies” from the TV show (and spin-offs), which can easily be organized into two categories: ButtStuff and PenisTime. We’ll cover ButtStuff first, because ButtStuff.
In the first, and perhaps the ultimate, ButtStuff entry, we have ex-pro snowboarder (who once lost a testicle showing off his boardin’ skillz) turned “professional shitter” (his words, not mine) Dave England, holding yoga’s finest lower back stretch “Plough” for hours, as his asshole friends construct a quaint trains-are-brand-new-era diorama around his exposed cheeks and anus. Then, once the PRICELESS 3D CAMERAS are rolling, he releases a Mount St. Helens of enema water and str8-up feces on the tiny village below. This is replayed in extreme slow motion, causing everyone in the theater, and the cameramen on the screen, to vomit in 3D.
Two-years-sober Steve-O takes the other jewel of the ButtStuff fecal department’s stunts with relish. The “movie”’s closer is called “Poo Cocktail Supreme,” (a callback to Johnny Knoxville’s previous documentary called “Poo Cocktail”) in which Steve-O is hurled into the sky in a fully loaded Port-o-Potty, rigged to a “human slingshot” carnival-ride bungee system. He’s then shaken up and down by gravity and elastic potential energy, drenched in feces, wearing German-y cut-offs and red suspenders. KINKY. Also: group barfing.
If scat-play’s not your idea of fun with butts, never forget about farts. Jackass 3D marks the silver screen debut of Will the Farter, heard on Howard Stern and barely watched on YouTube. Will the Farter has a very special asshole which can blow big loud farts (and objects) into the air with less than a moment’s notice. In my favorite vignette, he shoves a blowgun up his ass and farts a dart across the room that pops a balloon up Steve-O’s ass. He also plays a trumpet with his ass-breath, and blows bubbles (which Wee Man catches on his tongue).
My least favorite stunt in the ButtStuff catalog was “Apple of My Ass,” except typing that out made me LOL kinda hard. Preston Lacy (the fattest Jackass, and also the movie’s credited “writer” LOLOLOL) strips down on all fours and lets Steve-O and a farm pig named Bob eat a red apple out of his asshole. When Steve-O went in for a bite, it weirded all his boyfriends out—they were like ‘you didn’t need to do that at all, stick to the script.’
And now it’s time to discuss PenisTime, and the category is OWNED by Jackasser Christ Pontius. He loves to show his penis off in this movie! In one segment, his boyfriends fly a remote controlled mini-helicopter around in a beautiful park, tethered by a string, to his naked, flaccid penis. Up, up and away! He also uses his penis to play baseball, batting a tiny white golf ball into Bam Margera’s open mouth. In another segment, he gleefully shakes his penis from side to side in extreme slow-motion, comically “out-running” a big black censorship rectangle, and that’s the entire stunt.
Johnny Knoxville only peripherally gets in on PenisTime (“that’s not what I HEARD”—you), as he joyfully throws a basket of jiggly dildos at the audience to demonstrate 3D; Steve-O’s PenisTime contribution is allowing his perfectly-outlined-semi-bone-in-tighty-whiteys to be slammed with a tee-ball batting practice contraption. Eh.
Bam Margera, (who months ago was beaten up in the middle of the night by a 59-year-old baseball-bat-wielding woman whom he’d called the N-word) contributed PenisTime’s most avant garde videos (a leitmotif, even): a series of P.O.V. shots, from his penis head’s P.O.V., sneaking up on his friends and coworkers from behind and peeing on them. Bam also pisses right into the nightmarish blast of a jet engine, getting violently knocked over and toasted.
The best part about watching Jackass 3D, besides the familiar feelings of nausea and arousal that these fuckers always bring to any sized screen in any number of dimensions, is that they go about groping and flashing and out-kink-ing each other with so much enthusiasm, and never bother to burp out a “NO HOMO,” for safety’s sake. This is their fun, their daredevil hobby, their career, and it’s an interesting offering of video to go hand in hand with Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign for closeted gay teens. These sexy-straight-drunk-or-ex-drunk-frat-cubs want you kids to know that “Everyone’s Sexuality is Gross and Funny,” and if you don’t believe that, then go to your small-town cinema and see Jackass 3D in a sold-out theater. I like to think of it as a gay prank on the bullies out there—your Gods are into giving other dudes golden showers and filming each other’s butt adventures, while the kid you’re telling to kill himself is probably only into Sex and the City. That’s giving this shit way too much credit, I know that; but, sometimes thinking overly hard about something boring is the only way to stop yourself from exploding your jeans in a crowded movie theater.