Johnny Knoxville is back for one last ride with his friends. So, here’s the Jackass 4.5 review. The latest —and last installment— of the stunt/prank movie series that saw its genesis on MTV in the early 2000s spawned a couple of spin-offs and three movies. Directed by Jeff Tremaine, the movie lasts one hour and a half, and it’s shot in crisp-clear high definition.
If you have never seen Jackass before and are starting with this movie, we suggest you take a stroll down YouTube lane. Watch a couple of clips, and get familiar with the sometimes funny, sometimes shocking. And sometimes, the utterly grotesque nature of the films that Tremaine gave the public across two decades.
Jackass 4.5 Review: Old Habits Die Hard
I have to say that I was a teenager when I first heard the phrase “Hi, I’m Johnny Knoxville, welcome to Jackass,” I was arriving at a friend’s house after a long dog-day summer afternoon of skateboarding, and what I saw made my jaw drop of all the funny things these guys did. Watching Chris Pontius undress himself entering a store, or Danger Ehren doing some nasty stuff, or Johnny Knoxville taking it on with a bull looked cool and dangerous.
But now, thirty years later, after seeing what happened to Bam Margera —who couldn’t be in the movie because of his addiction problems—Ryan Dunn’s death in 2011 and the whole process of growing up made me have a different perspective on this film. The film has a nostalgic note to it. Johnny, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine recruited new Jackasses and even brought fellow prankster Eric André to the mix. Still, no Bam and no Ryan make the show feel different —regardless of how many times we see Steve-O do something gnarly.
They’re Too Old For This, Even If It’s For The Laughs
The movie is just like the old ones, it begins with a great, high-budgeted sequence of a city overrun by a giant green monster, that is, in reality, Chris Pontius’ member painted green and decorated over a cardboard city with special FX intercuts all while mayhem ensues, and Johnny Knoxville says hello in his traditional way.
We see novel pranks and stunts intertwined with interview footage of how these guys reflect on the toll that doing these things have taken on their health. I particularly feel sorry for dudes like Preston Lacy —whose morbid obesity is the subject of mockery but hides a sad story because he can’t lose that weight— Dave England and Danger Ehren —who even suffered a skull fracture in Jackass 3. Furthermore, Johnny Knoxville even had a traumatic injury when facing a bull, a lesion that still lingers on.
Not Everything Is Bad In Jackass 4.5
There are some gory, grotesque stunts and pranks in the movie, like the “sashimi” gag that I won’t describe —you’ll have to watch that by yourself, or the eagle eating fish out of Steve-O’s nether regions. Still, watching Danger Ehren and Eric Andre react to an exploding portable toilet in flames got a nice laugh out of me. Another fine prank was the return of Irving Zisman, aka “the bad grandpa,” in multiple sketches that will make you laugh out loud.
There are several segments of interviews that feature Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, and Spike Jonze reminiscing over their trajectory in Jackass across two decades. And it surprises me that they never mentioned Bam Margera even once. He was an integral part of the cast, and his demise due to addiction is terrible. But still, in that tribute, they should’ve commented about it or at least featured him in one of those nostalgia clips.
All in all, Jackass 4.5 is a rather mediocre film that you would watch for the lulz. It’s not a cinematographic masterpiece; the exaggeration of male genitalia made the film lose some of its chuckle potential. The edition was terrible, and it’s a bad goodbye to a bunch of guys bordering their fifties who had one last laugh before collecting retirement. I give this film a 2 out of 5. Only watch it if you want to see how old they are now.