Paramount Home Video
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius
Extras: Featurettes, Bonus Footage, Still Gallery
How do you review a DVD that is literally filled with nothing but extra material? I'm going to do my best here. After years of making viewers cringe with the dangerous and disgusting antics of their MTV show and two feature films, the boys of "Jackass" are back . . . sort of. Their latest release, "Jackass 2.5" is not a new film. It is actually a compilation of stunts and skits that, for one reason or another, could not be used in their last movie, "Jackass Number Two." Director Jeff Tremaine and the stars granted new interviews that are interspersed throughout the footage, explaining what went wrong with each segment and why it ultimately was not used. The result is now available on DVD in its full unrated glory after being made available exclusively online at jackassworld.com in a censored version.
By this point, "Jackass" needs no formal description, and so I will not take up space providing one. If you are reading this review, chances are you have watched the series and are probably an avid fan. If so, then you are exactly the target audience for Paramount's new release, which, even by "Jackass" standards, is pretty sloppy. As it consists entirely of excised footage, the feature cannot avoid coming across as nothing more than mediocre in spite of the gross-out gags, which frequently involve urine, fecal matter, vomit, and various experiments with bodily excretions that would have made the Marquis de Sade proud. Even at 64 minutes it seems to drag, and the interview segments make this seem more like something that could have been included as a bonus feature on the "Jackass Number Two" DVD. This is essentially just one, long bonus feature that has been glorified with its own DVD release.
Like the other "Jackass" films, this is going to thrill some and alienate everyone else. While I was never a huge fan of the show, I could usually find something humorous, but this particular entry just failed to make me laugh. The bits that always appealed to me the most were the "Candid Camera"-style skits that involved performing outrageous stunts or situations in public and catching the stunned reactions of oblivious bystanders. Over the years, however, the series and the movies rapidly degenerated into a sordid display of male nudity and bodily fluids, and that is all that "Jackass 2.5" aspires to be. Some have described it as homoerotic, but there is nothing erotic about this. Close-up shots of Steve-O vomiting, Johnny Knoxville being anally probed, and Jason "Wee Man" Acuña (the token little person) defecating in a diaper are certainly not what I would call sexually arousing. I wouldn't call them funny either, although the guys onscreen obviously find it all enormously hilarious. If there is one thing about the show that is possibly more memorable than the stunts themselves, it is the incessant laughter that accompanies the stunts. There is something disturbing in the sheer pleasure the now 30-something-year-old guys derive from their sadomasochistic behavior, but that is part of the show's charm, for lack of a better word. If you like it, you like it, and that's just the way it is.
Paramount Home Video brings "Jackass 2.5" to DVD in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. As with previous "Jackass" transfers, the picture quality is all over the place due to the use of various video cameras. At times, the image is quite clear while at others it is filled with compression artifacts and chroma noise. It is safe to say that the quality of this transfer is the best it can look.
The audio, presented in a Dolby Digital stereo track, suffers the same fate as the picture quality. The unremarkable sound quality is exactly what we have come to expect and heard on the other "Jackass" releases. It gets the job done, but there is nothing much to say about it.
Starting out the special features is "The Making of Jackass 2.5," a 24-minute featurette that pretty much seems like a shorter version of them main feature. Director Jeff Tremaine and the guys are interviewed in exactly the same manner, and most of the behind-the-scenes footage consists of either extended glimpses at stunts that are in the film or new ones altogether.
"The Making of Jackass the Game" is a 21-minute look at the creation of the PlayStation video game adaptation (????) of the show. This is yet another excuse for the guys to behave outrageously, this time as they suit up to play their animated characters through motion-capture technology.
The "Bonus Segments" feature lasts an astonishing 44 minutes and presents us with even more stunts, including an extended bit involving a fake beard made from pubic hair. After this, there are five minutes of intros recorded for one of MTV's airings of the first movie. A plug for jackassworld.com is next, followed by a photo gallery and previews for other Paramount releases.
There is nothing of great interest here for anyone except for the most diehard "Jackass" fan. "Jackass 2.5" is little more than a slapdash attempt to keep public interest in the franchise until the third movie goes underway (and it is coming). The antics are a tad raunchier, but not necessarily funnier than those of previous entries. Still, if seeing grown men pee on each other is your idea of a good time, then I really have nothing to say to that, except enjoy.