Wednesday 17 November 2010

Double Bill Mini-Cine Musings...

Jackass 3D:
Looking back on the original three seasons of Jackass, it's pretty damn tame by today's standards. At the time it was hilarious and cringe-inducing, but the further you go, the further still you'll have to go to continue eliciting the same level of response from your audience.

Such is the case with Jackass 3D, and indeed the case with the previous entries. The first Jackass movie stepped things up a considerable notch and released the franchise from the constraints of MTV on American TV. The second took things into a considerably more vile, more painful, and more shocking arena - but an arena filled with more laughter than ever before.

Jackass 3D doesn't quite have the same impact of Jackass: Number Two, especially as many of the skits are re-heats of established themes and ideas, but then again there's only so many ways to hurt yourself and make yourself vomit. This might seem like an issue, but in the world of Jackass, it's cheeseburger charm goes down a treat anyway - it's almost like a victory lap. Some of the members are showing their age now, and the closing credits includes 'then and now' footage of all the key players. There's a sense of this being a family of sorts who have grown up together, and it's this vibe which keeps the Jackass experience fresh, and maintains it as the pinacle of the stunt show thing that dominated the 2000's.

More of the same, sure, but there are stand out skits - both of the slapstick and gross-out variety - that keep things moving along nicely. It was a pleasure to see with an audience too, with everyone roaring with laughter or gasping with grimaced disbelief in unison, however when it comes to the 3D it's a mixed bag.

The resurgence of 3D made for a no-brainer when it comes to this sort of material, but also because of the type of presentation often featured in Jackass, and how the technology itself works, you're really getting half of a 3D movie and half of a 2D movie converted (sometimes seemingly not converted at all) into 3D. Certain set pieces worked nicely in 3D however, and afterall, if you're into this kind of entertainment you're going to want to see it in 3D, even if you don't get everything flying into your face.

I look forward to seeing what the DVD/BR release has to offer in terms of cut footage. Apparently there was an awful lot of good stuff cut out, and I have to say that at times you felt like certain members were being short-changed during the flick, but even still it manages to hold together well enough to make for an entertaining old romp for those inclined and acclimated to this sort of fare.

Due Date:
Following on from last year's all-conquering comedy The Hangover, which had a rubbish trailer that didn't inspire much confidence prior to seeing it, comes Todd Philips and Zack Galifianakis - accompanied by RDJ and a funny-looking, self-abusing dog - in a Planes, Trains & Automobiles-a-like ... with a rubbish trailer.

Fortunately, The Hangover turned out to be really quite entertaining, even upon a second viewing, and while Due Date doesn't quite hit some of the sheer fun of the former, once it gets going after a somewhat slow first act, it really starts to cook with some properly hilarious moments. Perhaps the trailer was so rubbish because they - wisely - didn't overexpose the comedy and kept the big gags as surprises for the audience, which wasn't the case with Burke & Hare, which gave away its best gags in the entertaining promos.

The emotional side to the plot is more subtle, or perhaps less explored, than that of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but instead the shock-comedy factor is turned way up. It's just a good slab of fun, littered throughout which are cameo vignettes that work to varying degrees of success, and while it's not got the infectious sense of chaos which The Hangover had, the two leads (and the dog) hold your funny bones in their hands throughout. Definitely worth a watch.


Wych Elm said...

I still haven't watch the Hangover! Was put off by the trailer which made it look Godawful. Have since had recommendations from people to check it out so hopefully will soon. Not sure about Due Date... was craving Planes, Trains/Candy Comedy Capers the other day & am wondering whether I should just re-visit that.

LOVED Jackass 3D as I did the previous installments. It's the only film so far in the current throws of 3D Revamp Fever where 3D has worked for me... as a general rule of thumb the point of using 3D in films that aren't gimmicky or trying to provoke a reaction like Jackass does seems to get a bit lost (am more of a fan of seeing 3D side shows at theme parks than I am trying to remain awed about it throughout an entire feature film). It's a hard-sell trying to convince others to see it and it certainly isn't everyone's bag, but I'm pleased you picked up on the family element of the relationship between the artists and also the experience of being in a cinema with people gasping, laughing etc en-masse.

I agree it's difficult to make the third installment of the franchise fresh, however it may be worth noting that out of all of the series and films so far this is the only one where I genuinely gagged at one of the stunts. I've NEVER had a physical reaction like that whilst watching a film before... too much pic n' mix and the sight of a Poo Volcano was almost too much.

Would welcome a Jackass 4!

Nick Thomson said...

If you do check out The Hangover, and if you do like it, then check out Due Date as it's very much in the same comedic vein. If you don't happen to like The Hangover, then yeah, probably stick with a re-watch of Planes, Trains & Automobiles (which is a real classic, I don't know anyone who doesn't like that movie).

I've never really gagged at anything I've seen on Jackass (or similar shows), but I do often cringe and have a physical reaction in that I physically recoil, haha. I did that several times during Jackass 3D.

It was great to see it with an audience - I love it when an audience is in-synch, it was the same when I went to see Drag Me To Hell - everybody was on the same ride at the same time and it was like we were all in it together. The cinema is ideal for such experiences - be they big spectacles, or something the audience can openly react to in unison like a comedy.

Jackass 3D is only the second movie I've seen in 3D. The first was Avatar, naturally, which I dug (even with some scripting flaws) - and while the 3D was a good way to further your immersion into the world of Pandora, it wasn't necessary to tell the story - and that's 3D's biggest problem, it's simply unnecessary in order to do what is already done by filmmakers. Like you said, it's still a bit of a gimmick, but when that's harnessed (like in Jackass 3D) then it's a ruddy good time - the Poo Volcano (in 3D) was indeed a highlight of the flick.