review for Jackass: Number Two on AllMovie

Jackass: Number Two (2006)
by Jason Buchanan review

By this point, both fans and detractors know well what to expect upon seeing the crutch-boned Jolly Roger and hearing the familiar twang of the Minutemen's distinctive Jackass theme, yet despite reaching a point in their gleefully self-destructive career of cinematic tomfoolery where familiarity may threaten to give way to diminishing returns, Johnny Knoxville and company still manage to mete out some truly unforgettable laughs thanks to their seemingly superhuman tolerance for physical pain and soul-scarring humiliation. To claim that Jackass Number Two is either "better" or "worse" than its predecessor would be a daunting task that would rely on a number of complicated factors, not the least of which would be one's tolerance for such familiar Jackass staples as gratuitous vomiting and flagrant displays of fecal matter. It is safe to claim, however, that the crew's threshold of pain seems to have substantially increased, as have the creativity and inventiveness of their antics since their previous big-screen outing. From flash-in-the-pan gags that blast by so fast the viewer's jaw is still left hanging as the next outrageous segment gets under way to elaborate pranks that narrowly avert severe physical injury or even death, the team has certainly outdone themselves in ratcheting up the audacity, shock value, and risk factors of the first installment. When a defeated Bam Margera pleads against a third installment of Jackass in the closing credits or Chris Pontius voices heartfelt shame after completing the only act in the film to suffer at the hands of the dreaded censor (who is likely still having nightmares about being subjected to such depravity), the viewer can sense that their sincerity is indeed genuine, and that the lowering of the proverbial bar is beginning to weigh heavy on even these thick-skinned extremists. Yet despite the film's more disturbing moments -- and there are plenty to speak of -- the saving grace of Jackass has always been the playful nature of the whole endeavor. No one is ever hurt aside from those who willingly participate in the risky stunts, and the sting of falling prey to one of the crew's more public pranks is often little more painful than being had by Allen Funt back in the days of Candid Camera (though it is, without question, slightly more grotesque). With that in mind, it's highly unlikely that any Jackass fan will walk out of the theater disappointed, and virtually unthinkable that Jackass Number Two will have any hope of converting the uninitiated.