A "deeper plunge into depravity" for those oblivious to the first movie or the fleeting MTV television series, Jackass: Number Two arrives for an audience with lock, stock, and extremely lowbrow smoking barrel.
Starring Johnny Knoxville and friends, who include Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, and "Wee Man", among others, director Jeff Tremaine has staged many "skits" of the perilous and gratuitous variety to humorous effect. This would be for a target audience who would need "adult" supervision to see something beyond dumb and dumber, gross, and even homophobic, especially to jump on the Brokeback Mountain bandwagon.
There's more variety this go around as the huge success of Jackass has allowed uglier minds to traverse the globe, from L.A. to Miami, even to sites like India. Some of the titles of the stunted sequences include "Bad Grandpa", "Terror Taxi", "How To Milk A Horse", and "The Ice Horse", to name a few.
Knoxville, a Tennessee native, and the most recognizable of those "professionals" on view from his big-screen work like The Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer, looks like a cross between a fraternity president and a circus ringleader. He's in his crazy, crude element here, acting as a producer with longtime collaborator Tremaine, and director and photographer Spike Jonze, also an actor in Three Kings.
Right from the outset, he's definitely giddy and gleefully as some of his friends try to read a Valentine's note on a door as the words get smaller and smaller. Obviously, one can't elaborate very much on some of the stunts that sometime get repetitive, but most who are warned at the outset and at the end of the lively credits about trying it out on their own probably won't be bored.
Steve-O gets to be bait for sharks and other undersea prowlers in a sequence that may not be that funny given the untimely death of Steve Irwin. Other more vile instances have him displaying his threshold of the rectal variety. Margera gets a branding that doesn't go very smoothly with its roaming imprints, and is genuinely frightened by some of our friends from Snakes on a Plane. This is well after the earlier, rather amusing "Puppet Show."
Jackass: Number Two and Jackass: The Movie abound in tastelessness, cruelty, and danger as our really arrested development dudes go for the jugular on many occasions. Knoxville holds on for dear life to a tiny rocket. It ignites, but he goes nowhere, just avoiding part of the flaming disintegration. He tries it again, with better results, up nearly 60 feet before it descends in the lake. A weapons expert demonstrates the force of tiny pellet balls used for security purposes. Knoxville escapes this stunt relatively unscathed, though the other two have plenty of marks to show for it.
"Candid Camera" moments include Knoxville made to look old in the aforementioned "Bad Grandpa" skit that crosses a profane line when it comes to using a minor in a gag. Worse still could be when Jonze is out on the streets as an old lady who has trouble keeping her decency for lack of a better word. "A disgusting, grotesque spectacle" sometimes can be a release for laughter in the middle of the night with Bam Margera's game mother April or with Wee-Wee feeling more than a tingle with a playing card. One of the participants remarks that he hopes there isn't a Jackass 3, but with skits that somehow degeneratingly connect either with an inflatable or baby powder, it wouldn't be surprising if the bar isn't lowered again.