A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie earns its R rating due to the excessive display of bodily fluids and use of vulgar language. But there's no MPAA rating that would provide any useful guidance about the movie's inappropriateness for audiences of any age. Parents should know that the movie includes very disgusting and visually explicit gags.
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What's the story?
JACKASS isn't a movie in the conventional sense of the word. There's no story, and there are no characters. It isn't a documentary, because it features stunts created just for the movie. What is it, then? An extended, more explicit version of the popular MTV show in which a group of idiotic guys performs idiotic stunts that involve such things as running around in their underwear and puking. Like the MTV show, the movie doesn't have a plot. It documents the same group of people from the TV show, led by Johnny Knoxville, performing extremely stupid and often very dangerous stunts.
Is it any good?
Jackass is an endurance contest for adolescents (and perpetual adolescents) and a comedy for people so bereft of empathy that they think it's funny to see people hurt themselves. When deciding whether to see Jackass, you should ask yourself one question: How enjoyable would it be to watch people abuse their bodies to perform stunts in the most grotesque manner imaginable? If you answered, "highly enjoyable and extremely amusing," this is your movie. Anyone else, however, should run screaming in the other direction.
To give you a taste of the movie's humor, one of the stunts involves a man snorting wasabi up his nose and then proceeding to vomit it out. Another stunt involves a man eating a snow cone -- except that in this case the man has urinated on the snow, and therefore knows he's eating his own bodily waste. Another involves a man using the demo toilet in a store's plumbing display, even though it's not hooked up to any plumbing. Then there are the stunts involving stuffing objects not intended for that purpose into bodily orifices also not intended for that purpose. The most appropriate commentary on the movie comes from a cameraman, who becomes so disgusted that he throws up, which, of course, gets incorporated into the movie. Even for people who enjoy bathroom humor, Jackass wears thin because its unremitting brand of literally painful bathroom humor just isn't funny.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between innocent slapstick humor and the kind of slapstick found in this film. When do they take it too far? Why would someone put themselves through these stunts? It's also worth discussing the kids who try to duplicate these stunts (despite the warnings) and end up seriously hurt. Are warnings really enough to stop some kids? Do the makers of these films and the MTV show have a responsibility for the safety of others beyond the posted warnings? Why or why not?
- In theaters: October 25, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: March 25, 2003
- Cast: Bam Margera, Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O
- Director: Jeff Tremaine
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: dangerous, sometimes extremely crude stunts, language and nudity.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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