A Load of Humor

'Jackass Number Two' is the No. 1 box-office movie in America--God help us

I love the spirit of Jackass, but sometimes, they take things a bit too far. Jackass Number Two is inferior to its predecessor film, because it tries 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: There's hardly any Party Boy! He only shows up in a little Bollywood moment, and 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 the ass fixation this time out? Steve-O takes a beer siphon up the ass, while Bam Margera gets a dildo rammed into his. (His butt 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.) Only 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 is 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 a blindfold, lighting a cigarette and waiting for a bull to gore him.

The stance Knoxville takes before he gets nailed 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 where 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 blastoff proves Knoxville is the craziest one in the bunch, no contest.

Steve-O, the one who is usually up for the most dangerous and sickest gags, probably takes second 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 would have to be a sequence involving an ejaculating horse and the subsequent consumption of the deposit. Pontius takes a gulp and expresses his disgust with himself, while stating that the substance 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 I'll say it again: If they show another guy dropping a load on the movie screen, I will have to boycott them forever.

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