Because most of the sets from Avatar sets reside on a hard drive, Jackass 3D’s theatrical release represents the greatest live-action 3D film spawned of this digital revolution. Even Rip Taylor’s confetti captivated during this 360-degree immersion into infantilism — gaspingly funny even as the material shows signs of age that its Peter Pan performers reject.
Yes, 3D is used to propel dildos, dookie and dripping pee into your lap, rather liberally in the film’s second half. But director / editor Jeff Tremaine and his strong- (or not-so-strong-) stomached cinematographers employ it, well, artfully, and improved visual composition only mildly tempers the craziness. Plus, Jackass 3D revolutionizes slow-motion photography in a way unseen onscreen since the original Matrix. A million-dollar Phantom camera reportedly developed especially for this film captures every last detail in slow motion, from the rippling cheeks after a right hook to the parabolic arc of an eruption from Dave England’s nether-regions. “Crisp” will now be an adjective associated with diarrhea, so there you go.
Unfortunately, the at-home version of Jackass 3D shortchanges the 3D — confining it only to standard-definition DVD and in anaglyph format (red-and-blue-lensed glasses). Paramount was at least wise enough to provide four pairs, as Jackass 3D is far more enjoyable when giggling with a group. And while it’s not the migraine-inducing, dishwater-clarity 3D effect that often comes with chintzy anaglyph, it’s not the stereoscopic success as shown in theaters with virtually none of the depth of field. Honestly, for the truest clarity, the 2D Blu-ray — which would better evoke the state-of-the-art digital photography — would probably be best.
For all the technological advancements, there’s a slightly disappointing sense of rehashing, especially oh-so-slight variations on bits from the uproarious Jackass Number Two. There’s also far less psychological prodding among the group that shoved Number Two into discomfort zones. When Steve-O says, “Why do I have to be Steve-O?” before “Tee Ball” (one of many mashed-nut moments), it’s as close to a new subtext as No. 3 gets. And a franchise’s third installment hasn’t concluded with such forced cuddliness since Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.
Problems aside, when Jackass 3D works, it kills: a reenactment of the Maxell ad in the roar of a fighter jet’s backwash; “Electric Avenue,” of which 950,000 volts is a critical detail; a real-life round of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” showing why it’s best left as a children’s game; the violent outcome of speed times velocity in football; and a face-hurting bit that, if told orally, would start with “Two people of short stature walk into a bar.”
The DVD includes an unrated cut, which runs about six minutes longer. The additions are mostly negligible, so it’s worth watching only if you want more footage (and, in a few instances, more schlong). Most of the 11 deleted scenes extend (no pun intended) bits from the movie (additional Rocky bits and exploding port-o-johns), and there are 28 minutes of outtakes. All of that, and they’re still intending to release Jackass 3.5 (much as was done with Jackass 2.5).