Jackass Nation

By releasing the dregs of Jackass online, a new marketing stunt is born

Back when Jackass began terrorizing parents on MTV at the turn of the century, the big fear was that the show's self-mutilating antics would be imitated by kids, resulting in a generation of disfigured underachievers. While this has more or less occurred, the final result is something even worse: Jackass created an insatiable public appetite for extreme stupidity, more-so than at any other time in our history as a republic.

Where the Internet was once dominated by the perfectly understandable medium of pornography, it's now clogged with videos of people throwing themselves off roofs, lighting themselves on fire, and getting kicked in the ‘nads. (Yes, it is a scientific fact that 90 percent of viral videos are shot and enacted by young men.) This sub-sub-genre of America's Funniest Home Videos is so beloved that it's inspired waves of dorks trying to get their lame videos onto websites like Heavy.com, Ebaumsworld.com, Collegehumor.com, and dozens of other belated entries attempting to cash in (including the very honest Stupidvideos.com). But the dumbassery isn't limited to hurting yourself and your friends—it now includes every aspect of human existence, from weddings gone violently wrong to babies on the rampage. We are living in a Jackass nation in which people feel compelled to broadcast unfortunate, contrived moments of their lives to the world in the hope of becoming YouTube superstars.

So it's fitting that the newest addition to the Jackass canon is now premiering online; Jackass 2.5 is being touted as "the first-ever studio-backed feature streamed in its entirety online." So, right now, courtesy of Blockbuster, you may see Jackass 2.5 for free. Yes, all the defecating, urinating, bleeding, puking fun of previously unseen Jackass is available to you after but a short registration process. But be forewarned: this 64-minute "feature" might as well have been subtitled "The Leftovers of Jackass Number Two."

What we really have here are the outtakes from the second Jackass movie, the bits and pieces that didn't quite make the cut. So if you can just imagine the kinds of gags that didn't reach the high standards of excellence usually displayed by the Jackass visionaries, then you pretty much have already seen the movie in your own head. It's not unlike watching the user-generated clips of Jackass-wannabes available everywhere else, but with the addition of interviews with the cast about why the stunts weren't any good. So not only do we get to watch unfunny segments, but we're also told why they're unfunny. Register online now!

In fact, all throughout Jackass 2.5's scenes, the guys comment on how this particular footage will "end up being a DVD extra." And, in fact, what Paramount and MTV have really done is simply make a DVD-style mini-doc of failed movie stunts, called it a feature, and released it online with a full-on marketing push crowing over its history-making Internet "first." Except that, like most DVD mini-docs, it kinda sucks.

The appeal of the original Jackass was its novel combination of fearless stupidity and bizarre scenarios. But the set-ups in Jackass 2.5—which the guys claim to be "skits" that they "write"—mostly fizzle. Some of the more interesting gags include the rotund Preston Lacey dressing up as an ape, climbing up on a port-a-potty, and then being assailed by RC model airplanes like King Kong (though seeing him quiver in fear is more depressing than anything else). Director Spike Jonze shows up to don old-lady prosthetics along with Johnny Knoxville as an old man, and they individually walk around annoying people. The entire team jumps on mini-bikes and drive into a grocery store, unleashing mayhem. A trip to India results in the boys being freaked out by a cult whose members are serious jackasses.

Other than that, things mostly devolve into a mess of bodily fluids as the guys stand around shirtless and guffaw as one of their buddies has something inserted into his rectum. It all gets more than a little pathetic. While Johnny has enough charm and wit to carry him through to an acting career, it's clear that the other guys—Bam, Chris, Vincent, Steve-O, Preston, and the rest—have attained the heights of their careers. This is pretty much all they can do: Take a dump, and wait for the applause.