Mel Brooks once said something to the effect that tragedy is when a man cuts his finger. Comedy is when he falls into an open manhole and dies.

Morgan Morel
What a misleadingly tame photo for this movie. Not a body fluid in sight. (Courtesy of Paramount)

“Jackass: Number Two” falls headfirst into that manhole. But when it falls, it falls with a hook in its mouth, a foot in its balls and feces all over the place. In a total affront to good taste and maturity, the nine boys of MTV’s “Jackass” are back and as harebrained as ever.

But they’ve gotten older. If “Number Two” isn’t a rapid-fire slug-out like “Jackass The Movie,” it’s only because it lingers on the real hurting. Weathered and more fragile with age, Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam (“Sociopath”) Margera and other favorites retake the screen in far more breakable condition. They cry, they pant, they hold themselves in pain. Yes, they’re still seeing who can pull the craziest stunts, but this time it feels more distressing. It feels dangerous.

Nude midgets. Rocket rides. Horny old people. Poo-eating. Branding. An explosive musical finale. That’s just a fraction of masochistic man-boy action in “Number Two.” These nine guys may just never grow up. Even the title is a bad poop joke.

The fact is, the boys of “Jackass” have forced themselves into torment for life. Getting rushed by a yak is what Johnny Knoxville is going to be remembered for, just as Ehren McGhehey will live on forever dressed up as an Arab with a pubic-hair beard.

At one point, Bam Margera even whines that he’s sick of all the “Jackass” buffoonery. He wants to stop exploiting his body for cheap thrills. And yet, the lunatic in him keeps coming back for more. Maybe Margera wishes he went to college, just like Ryan Dunn tries to imagine life without having ever used heroin. Dave England wants hospital visits to no longer be the norm. After the most repulsive moment in the film (absolutely unmentionable even in any public forum), Chris Pontius finally states that he’s completely ashamed of himself. Like the rest of them, he should be.

As long as they keep doing it, we’ll keep watching. And laughing. There are still people in this world who actually find a football in the groin very funny (namely, me). And yes, there are about a couple thousand YouTube videos for these stunts. But damn it, “Jackass” still does dumb shit better than anyone. It’s OK to laugh at their expense. They’re asking for it.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jackass: Number Two
At the Showcase and Quality 16

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