Jackass 4.5 is now streaming on Netflix.
Following the tradition of the Jackass sequels and their follow-ups, Jackass 4.5 offers both glimpses behind the scenes and a litany of deleted gags. It’s by no means a complete movie — or as complete as a regular Jackass movie can feel — but as a follow-up to the brilliant, nostalgia-and-stupidity-fueled Jackass Foreverit’s a fun bonus feature.
Like the previous Jackass in-between-quels, it runs about 90 minutes and takes us through sit-down interviews which either explain Forever’s gags in detail, or set up yet-unseen segments without giving too much away. Some of these bonus sketches were deleted for time, like the Bad Grandpa segment teased in the original trailer, which sees Johnny Knoxville’s octogenarian pervert character Irving Zisman set ablaze, while other stunts simply didn’t go well enough (or poorly enough) to make it to the big screen. It’s a light and decently informative process piece, which is especially worthwhile in the streaming era, when films are seldom packaged with bonus making-of content like DVDs and Blu-rays usually are. Since it isn’t even the first entry of its kind, it’s clear just how far ahead of the curve the Jackass boys were with films 2.5 and 3.5 back in the day.
In keeping with the vibe of the full feature, it opens with a surfing gag gone awry, reintroducing us to Jackasses new and old in the middle of innocent (albeit painful) summer fun. Forever’s nostalgic elements, which took the form of aged stuntmen trying to recapture their glory days, are broken down through casual conversations, from recollections of how the reunion came about, to discussing the pitfalls of trying to live recklessly some 20 years on. Of course, there are still gags-a-plenty, from additional stunts that mangle bodies and send them spinning through the air, to more nude camaraderie that celebrates those bodies (even at their most disgusting), to elaborate costumes for the sole purpose of making pain felt twice as fully. As always, the cackling glee from fellow Jackass onlookers multiplies the enjoyment further.
While not nearly as magical as seeing the original Jackasses pass the baton via tests of bodily fortitude, Jackass 4.5 does offer a wider window into the actual process by which newcomers Zach, Poopies, Eric, Rachel, Jasper, and Dark Shark were chosen in the first place. The fact that they each seem to fit right in from minute one is nothing if not reassuring (especially with a new show on the horizon). There’s a joyfully silly initiation ritual, involving — for lack of a more sophisticated term — a hot sauce enema, and in keeping with the full movie, Danger Ehren somehow gets the worst of it despite not being part of the scene. Basically, it’s more Jackass Forever, if only less emotional.
The most unique part of the process this time is that production had to shut down for seven months during COVID. When the cast and crew returned, they found themselves smack dab in the middle of a wonderfully loopy paradox, where they had to take increased safety precautions just to put themselves in mortal danger. It’s perhaps the most intriguing peek behind the curtain, and what most makes the Jackass series feel like a well-oiled (or well-lubricated) production machine some two decades on, despite the fact that nearly everyone involved feels like a tight-knight family . Of course, even though they take the pandemic seriously explosive, they can’t pass up the opportunity for a few corona-centric pranks just to get back in the groove.
Jackass 4.5 may not reach the hilarious highs or winning lows of its parent film, but for those who left Jackass Forever hoping for more time with old friends, you can’t really go wrong. There’s at least one of every type of Jackass stunt — puke, pain, gratuitous nut-shots, you name it — so even though it’s scattered, it delivers pretty much what you’d want and expect from one of these. Long live Jackass; forever may it reign.