Remember Johnny Knoxville’s old-man character, Irving Zisman, from Jackass? The prosthetic geriatric is back, this time on a road trip with his equally ill-socialized grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll). That’s about the long and the short of the plot, which is merely a perfunctory frame around a messy string of hidden-camera gags—the most audacious of which finds Irving unwittingly bellying up to the bar of a male strip club, where he tries to best the dancers at their own buffed and waxed game.
But whereas the previous Jackass films made Knoxville and his masochistic comrades the bee-stung butts of the joke, here the laughs come at the expense of unwitting subjects, who are usually poor, nonwhite or both. The dynamic plays out again and again: Knoxville, seamlessly made up as an elderly man, says or does something horrible—say, fighting at his wife’s funeral until her the casket is knocked off its stand—and the cameras record the shocked and offended faces of unlucky suckers (at least those who could be convinced to sign a release form).
Apart from a handful of physical stunts and the penultimate biker-bar setup, Knoxville never puts himself at risk, and the imbalance of power curdles the imperative to laugh at the rubes. There are a handful of brilliant set pieces, including a scorched-earth attack on child beauty pageants. But this exercise in wink-nudge bad taste simply leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
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Here's the thing Becca, while I find the movie funny, the reviewer is absolutely correct. Take the funeral scene for instance. The onlookers are people who are waiting to be paid, they are the caterers etc. The power imbalance both forces them to take part in the shenanigans and makes them the brunt of the joke. This is the power imbalance the reviewer is talking about. Admittedly I'm not all the way through the movie yet, but so far the targets for mockery have largely been those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I don't think this is a shallow observation, as there is much to say about the design choice of these set pieces, what does this say about our tolerance of mockery? Are you telling me there were no upper-class whites in america that could have been marks? I highly doubt that. I question whether this choice was to minimize the legal backlash that could occur from these stunts (see the stories about Borat's filming, particularly the upper-class lawsuits that came down the pipe after it was released).
I'm still trying to understand what relevance mentioning "poor" people and "non-whites" have to do with the tone of the movie. That was such a minor aspect of the movie and this site should be ashamed of such shallow observations!
This review is of your review. How idiotic! Who cares what color the victims of the jokes are? That has nothing to do with anything.
I always thought when you write a review, you would actually research the things you believe are true, before proposing a final "piece". This was absurd. First of all, the fact that Johnny "never takes risks", how many times do you see an elderly man jumping off bridges just to take risks? None, I hope. So the level of risks were for plot based reasons, so people wouldn't immediately assume he's playing a prank. To get an authentic reaction, it has to be BELIEVABLE. Second, I KNOW that Johnny has taken numerous risks. Think of all the damages and possibilities he could have gotten hurt or sued by someone. Also, since you didn't do your research AT ALL, you wouldn't understand how many times he injured himself. This I know because I READ INTERVIEWS. Maybe develop a sense of legitimacy before writing. He also took a big risk into shooting this idea, just like any director does when they make a film, it can either make or break them. Johnny Noxville has put an extreme amount of risk into his many productions, I commend him for this.