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“Jackass” Takes MoMA

"Jackass" Takes MoMA

Like any good dysfunctional family, the cast and crew of “Jackass” care a lot about each other yet they clearly don’t fully trust one another. When the group took the stage after last night’s screening of “Jackass 3D” at MoMA, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Ehren McGhehey and Jeff Tremaine (all pictured above) each covered their crotches as they stood next to one another for the Q & A.

They protected their private parts for good reason. When he least expected it, Ehren McGhehey was whacked in the groin with the head of a microphone by Johnny Knoxville. A few minutes later McGhehey slugged Tremaine in the crotch really hard, leading the “Jackass” director to writhe in pain as the MoMA crowd laughed and cheered.

Pictured above (left to right) at MoMA last night: museum curator Josh Siegel with Ehren McGhehey, Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze.
iphone photo by eugene hernandez

It was a sight you wouldn’t expect to see at such a august institution as the Museum of Modern Art, as was noted during a brief intro by chief film curator Raj Roy, who marveled at the fact that “Jackass” was being provided such a lofty perch. “This may be my last day in this role,” he joked to the crowd at the intro, “Oh, what the hell!”

Well, the event worked and the movie was a big hit with the MoMA crowd.

“Jackass 3D” is as funny — and grotesque — as any of the other “Jackass” movies. I love them. The films are outrageous, hilarious, raunchy, and super entertaining. The latest installment is on par with previous entries. Even as some of its stunts push the envelope beyond the level of past outrageousness, it also plays out with a bit of nostalgia and a few bits fall flat. This “Jackass” also has some moments that are a bit softer around the edges. Maybe it’s because the guys are getting older? They’ve been doing this together for 10 years and are even admitting a bit of wear and tear from a decade of abuse. At one point in the film, fall guy Steve-O admits that he’s quit drinking and cleanded up his act. Meanwhile, Knoxville said last night that he’s still forced to use a catheter three times a day due to a past “Jackass” injury.

Having the film premiere at MoMA (for its Film Plus members) gave a boost of credibility to the movie. Introducing it last night, museum curator Josh Siegel linked it to a tradition of politically incorrect slapstick comedies.

We love to laugh at the misfortune of others,” Siegel told the New York Times yesterday. Writer Dennis Lim continued in the article, “[Siegal] added that the new film is ‘merely the climax — or the lowest depths, if you prefer — of a tradition that dates back to 1895, when the Lumière brothers drenched a poor sap with a garden hose and filmed it’.”

“How ridiculous is this,” asked “Jackass 3D” director Jeff Tremaine, welcoming the enthusiastic crowd last night. “I’m a big time artist,” he laughed, adding simply, “It’s a big time honor for us to present this atrocity to you.”

Whether or not there will be another “Jackass” movie remains to be seen. Each time out they say they’ll never do it again, the team admitted during the Q & A. Meanwhile, some of them keep working together on other documentaries.

“If there’s not another ‘Jackass’,” Johnny Knoxville said last night, “We’ll keep working together.”

Johnny Knoxville at MoMA last night.
Photo by Dave Allocca/Startraks

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