There's a great (and pertinent to this review) scene in the 2006 Mike Judge comedy Idiocracy: upon an experiment going wrong and waking up hundreds of years in the future, one of the main characters, Joe, witnesses another man watching a television show that is extremely popular in this future day and age. A man's excited voice comes through the speakers: "Comin' up next on the Violence Channel, Ow, My Balls!" The T.V. then proceeds to show various situations in which men are getting hit in the testicles by a plethora of objects. Clearly Idiocracy is trying to show that if we continue on the path of entertainment that is currently occupying the airways, we're eventually going to become blubbering idiots that only become excited when men vomit from getting their nuts squashed. Apparently, the country didn't have to wait 500 years; last weekend, Jackass 3-D broke the all-time(!) October opening weekend box office. I loved every minute of it, and I contributed to the box office by going to two separate showings myself. Jackass 3-D, although sometimes seeming a little unoriginal by using some recycled ideas from past films and episodes, is a fun and absolutely disgusting visit with the guys that I have grown to love over the course of the past 10 years.
Jackass started on MTV back in the year 2000, and I have watched it from the beginning (every episode and all three films). It's amazing that the main guys haven't been dismembered or killed. From the beginning, flying down the pavement in shopping carts and drinking and regurgitating goldfish, to this most recent installment, involving bull kicks to the head and jumping through the air outtake of a jet engine, danger is always extremely close and potentially deadly. Isn't that why we are watching this so-called trash? Like a massive car accident with twisted metal and glass shattering, at any moment Johnny Knoxville's skull could get crushed and Steve-O's dick could get bitten off by an alligator. However, this isn't just stupid dudes doing stupid shit. Well, yes it is, but, some of their best skits and/or routines rival any slapstick or sideshow acts. They go all the way, and that's what puts them above most people trying the same sort of things. They particularly go pretty far in gross-out comedy. It takes a very lot to disgust me, so when a film actually makes me cringe it should be considered a success.
What, exactly, is the purpose of film in general? Whether you're watching an Oscar-winning drama or a porn movie about squirters, you only want to be entertained. That's the basis for most humans entering the movie theater. Seeing these men acting like juveniles is just that. It taps into our basic human emotions in a way that most films don't bother trying to reach. They inflict pain on each other for the viewer's benefit, and you have to give them credit for that. There are simplistic sketches, such as hitting a ping pong ball with a penis and then trying to catch it in your mouth, and there are advanced and more thought out scenes, such as "Electric Avenue", in which the jackasses have to make it through a narrow corridor full of hanging stun guns and cattle prods. They have one thing in common: I couldn't take my eyes off of the large screen. Go watch the film, and then I will pose the question that Maximus posed many years ago: "Are you not entertained?"