The difficulty in reviewing the highly enjoyable Jackass 3D was that the antics of the good people at Dickhouse Productions actually defy criticism, whether positive or negative. As TV to movie translations go, it‘s literally a longer episode of the series on the big screen.
Jackass 3D is also arguably the only film to date which has benefited from Real-D 3D. If it were a bog-standard third instalment, would any of us but the most diehard fans have thought of it as a must-see in the cinema? 3D is a fairground attraction, and nobody has exploited that better than that movie did.
With the release of Jackass 3.5 straight to DVD, the process of reviewing is a little more clear cut. It’s to the credit of the producers that this doesn’t come off as a B-roll cash grab release, but it’s still a presentation of deleted scenes, along with interview footage shot in London during the third film’s press tour. In 2D.
The usual array of snort-inducing and gigglesome stunts featuring Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera et al are present and correct, but luckily, there were two more things that made Jackass 3D such an enjoyable guilty pleasure in cinemas.
The 3D might not be available on this DVD, but the process of shooting with it made the filmmakers really push the boundaries with their cinematography. Not in the way that James Cameron keeps insisting that 3D makes directors think about depth, like they didn’t anyway, but as compared to everything the Jackass guys have done before. I didn’t even realise how far they’d come along until I watched Jackass: The Beginning, a short retrospective documentary included in the disc’s extras.
From their origins, shooting in a skate video style, to Jackass 3D‘s brilliant use of the slow-motion Phantom cameras, which were also memorably deployed in the opening of Zombieland, we can see just how well this crew have learned to shoot all of the nut shots and the accidents and the gruesome, sick-making stunts.
The other thing that made the third film so enjoyable was a subversion of the moral we learned from Monsters Inc. The creatures of Monstropolis learned that there’s much less power in upsetting someone and making them frightened than there is in making them laugh.
For Knoxville and co, I found the opposite was true, and that the genuine fear for their own safety that these guys had developed over the years was a lot funnier than their guffaws and hilarity in previous instalments.
I’d have liked to see more of that in 3.5‘s scenes, but some of these unused stunts are edited right down to the punchline. The interjection of interview footage breaks up the flow even more than previously, when we were watching random skits connected together by a dip to black.
The mix of unused footage and interviews about the film almost lend a ‘making-of’ feel to the whole endeavour, like Hearts Of Darkness with bodily fluid jokes. Watching the movie itself, I couldn’t help but feel that it was an escaped featurette from a Jackass 3D Blu-ray.
The film’s not without its highlights, though. Fans will enjoy the account of how Knoxville finally fell victim to an onset prank, and only realised it, in front of everyone, at the cast and crew screening of the third film. And I laughed like a drain at the montage of precision nut shots, right before feeling ashamed that my sense of humour was propelled back to ‘man getting hit by football’level.
On the other hand, even if I can’t imagine anyone but Jackass completists forking out the full RRP for it, it’s worth noting that it’s still a ninety minute feature-length piece, and that the extras bolster the disc in a big way.
It does seem contradictory that the disc includes deleted scenes and outtakes. Technically, it’s a whole film of deleted scenes, and so the separate scenes serve only to flesh out some of the stunts in 3.5 from their edited down format. Plus, I’d believe that someone getting hurt while shooting was an outtake on virtually any other DVD than this one. It’s sort of par for the course.
As far as I’m aware, Jackass 4 is not forthcoming, and the aforementioned Jackass: The Beginning has cast and crew reflecting upon the origins of the MTV series and some of their favourite stunts and pranks.
Executive producer, Spike Jonze, nails the ethos of the series in one when he recalls how they’d just put anything on air that they thought was funny, including a laborious close-up on a spring door-stopper being twanged.
The other featurette on the disc follows the cast and crew on their European tour, and between this and the nostalgia of The Beginning, Jackass 3.5 follows on from the victory lap feel of Jackass 3D‘s closing credits.
It might take a completist’s view to fully appreciate it, but there are enough solid laughs spread throughout to make it worth a watch for anyone who enjoys the space that Jackass inhabits, somewhere between what certain tabloids would call ‘sick filth’ and a modern answer to the silent comedy maestros of old Hollywood.
Jackass 3.5 is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.