Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jackass: Number Two

Illustration for article titled Jackass: Number Two

Some movies simply shouldn't be seen sober or alone. Snakes On A Motherfucking Plane is one such movie. So is Jackass Two. Movies like Two feed off the energy of crowds whose visceral response can be measured not just in laughter, but also in squeals of shock, revulsion, and surprise. If seen alone, the new Jackass sequel could easily come off as a grim wallow in the depths of human degradation. But when seen with a rapt, rowdy audience, the film becomes something else entirely—namely, a joyful celebration of the depths of human degradation.

In Jackass Two, that communal quality extends to the screen, where half the fun comes from the camaraderie between ringleader Johnny Knoxville and his posse of pranksters, especially since this movie consists largely of the gang pulling pranks on each other. Like its predecessor, Jackass Two is little more than a series of pranks and stunts animated by equal quantities of sadism and masochism. But the stunts are grosser, the gags sharper, and the opening and closing wraparound segments more ambitious. If nothing else, the film proves that Spike Jonze is the only major director willing to promenade in public wearing grotesque prosthetic old-woman boobs.

The homoeroticism of the series has been ratcheted up as well; you'd have to travel to Fire Island to find so many men eagerly exploring the possibilities inherent in anuses and male genitalia. Just about the only thing that could make this movie any gayer would be cameos from John Waters and Rip Taylor and a closing Busby Berkley-style musical production number. Oh wait, it's got those too. Waters' cameo seems particularly fitting. When Divine famously devoured feces in Pink Flamingos, he and Waters gave birth to Knoxville's whole career, and it's one hideous Eraserhead-looking baby. When Waters gazes over the American landscape and sees what his revolution in bad taste has wrought—vast armies of suburban teens lining up to see grown men drink horse sperm, do sadistic things with dildos, and vomit profusely—he must feel awfully proud.