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Jackass’ sequel brings humor to new lows

Observer Scene | Thursday, September 28, 2006

It all began with a much-censored and always-controversial television show on MTV. One movie and two spin-off television shows later, the boys of “Jackass” are back in “Jackass: Number Two.”

At the end of the movie, Bam Margera says, “I hope there’s no Jackass 3.” After what he and the rest of the guys endure throughout the film, it is not hard to sympathize with his sentiment. The stunts filmed in this movie have definitely upped the ante from both the previous movie and various television shows. After this outing there aren’t too many ways for the crew to top its own antics – aside from winding up in the hospital.

Although the stunts are more advanced, the shtick is the same as always. “Number Two” is a series of short sequences of the sado-masochists performing random acts of idiocy and harassing each other mercilessly. There are more daredevil stunts included in this movie, but this time the guys are more self-conscious of being filmed – an aspect that was missing in the first movie.

There are also countless bulls and snakes; the guys seek pain from those animals more than any others.

Although they have mostly gone their separate ways since the first movie, all the boys are back in their full glory: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Ryan Dunn and Dave England. While the original show and movie distributed the anguish equally amongst them all, it’s clear this time the movie is playing up the names of its two biggest celebrities: Margera and Knoxville. After “Jackass,” Margera received his own spin-off show on MTV, “Viva La Bam,” which focused on his pranks around the home – often directed at his uncle Vito. He frequently had Dunn, England and Steve-O on the show with him. Knoxville has come into his own as a movie star, with leading roles in the 2005 films “Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Ringer.”

Knoxville is the clear leader, often pushing for the stunts even though the others have backed out. He proudly stands alone while getting bitten by anacondas or charged repeatedly by bulls – and he does it all with a smile. One stunt involves anti-riot land mines, and after the device is demonstrated, Margera and Dunn opt out. Knoxville then berates them into taking the punishment, gleefully standing in the front to take the pain.

Despite his leading role, Margera is far more cynical this time through. He frequently comments on how far the stunts have gone and several times tries to back out. Throughout the movie, Bam is reduced to tears three times – one time because of genuine fear when the guys lock him in with a cobra.

Aside from their horribly disgusting and dangerous stunts, the guys have several skits where they harass the general public. In one of the funniest scenes, producer Spike Jonze walks through the streets of LA disguised as an elderly woman whose shirt keeps coming undone, leaving her sagging in front of the horrified onlookers.

Due to the guys’ ever-growing celebrity, there are also countless guest stars – including the Three 6 Mafia, John Waters, Tony Hawk and Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers) -who add to the absurdity of the situations.

Although there is nothing truly unexpected in this movie, “Jackass: Number Two” contains countless immense and grotesque laughs. It is definitely a movie best seen with lots of other people who find people slamming into walls and eating unmentionable atrocities hilarious.