If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a man goes to a sushi bar and snorts huge, fiery-hot dollops of wasabi up his nose, Jackass the Movie provides the answer: He pukes. Right on camera. (Hell, this is a movie in which the cameraman can’t stop vomiting.) On MTV, where it was finally canceled after a controversial run, ”Jackass” tended to bring out the pop-culture scold in a lot of people. But it’s difficult to reprimand Johnny Knoxville and his crew of merry sick pranksters when their principal pastime consists of dreaming up elaborate new ways to punish themselves.
In the movie version of the show that might just as well have been called ”America’s Funniest Frat-House Hazing Rituals,” the boys engage in infantile ”Candid Camera” grossouts (one of them enters a hardware store, sits down on a showroom toilet, and proceeds to use it), but mostly, the happy masochistic stunts just keep coming. Knoxville, who’s sort of like Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura for real, has paper cuts administered between his fingers and toes and gets a small alligator to bite on his nipple. The signifier of his extreme-cool manhood seems to be that he seeks out all of this pain, and really digs it, too. The other guys do things like eat a urine snowcone and roll around on top of hundreds of mousetraps. And let us not forget…the bungie wedgie. ”Jackass the Movie” provokes a suspense halfway between comedy and horror. I’m not sure if I enjoyed myself, exactly, but I could hardly wait to see what I’d be appalled by next.