Three-D would seem tailor-made for the guys from “Jackass.”
When the technology is used for its funniest and most entertaining purposes, as it was recently in “Piranha 3-D,” it’s all about the wild, gratuitous gimmicks. I don’t need to be immersed in Pandora; I want stuff flung at me from the screen.
Johnny Knoxville and Co., who are constantly outdoing themselves with crazy and creative pranks and stunts, would seem to be just the right guys to do that sort of thing. But very little occurs in their latest movie, “Jackass 3D,” that wouldn’t have sufficed in 2-D.
Sure, there’s an amusing and effective bit involving archery with a sex toy rather than an arrow. Steve-O and Dave England play tetherball with a beehive – dressed in nothing but furry bear hats and tighty-whities – and it feels as if the worked-up insects are swarming around us, too.
But more often than not, this third installment in the franchise doesn’t take full advantage of its visual potential. A Jet-Ski stunt Knoxville performs in a swimming pool, which is featured prominently in the trailers, is a bit of a letdown, for example.
“Jackass 3D” is at its best when it’s about these guys playing well-orchestrated tricks on each other and the world at large. The “High Five” gag – a giant hand on garage-door springs that whaps people to the floor as they’re walking around a corner – is funny every time, especially when Bam Margera gets it with big bags of flour attached.
The jokes they play involving animals are always hard to watch, though, because you feel so bad for these creatures. Some idiot is invading their pen or whatever just for a laugh, but the ram – or dog, or pig, or donkey – always wins in the end with a swift and powerful kick or head-butt.
So maybe “Jackass” is about something after all. Maybe it’s a cautionary tale, an age-old parable about man vs. nature. Or not.