James Parker reviews the new Jackass movie and the genre:
Viewed critically and retrospectively, the show’s genius stroke was to connect skater humor, which is violently lowbrow and absurdist (skaters love watching other skaters wipe out), to a slapstick tradition that went back to the rougher end of vaudeville, to Joe KeatonBuster’s fatherdoing his act “The Man With the Table” at Huber’s Museum in New York City: crashing into the table, flying off the table, fervently and bodily intervening in the existence of the table. (Remember Steve-O jumping into his ceiling fan?) Maybe that’s what they were in the end, the jackasses, under their Ritalin antics: hard-core vaudevillians. No narrative, minimal setup“My name’s Johnny Knoxville, and this is the poo cocktail!”just one bone-breaking or atrociously humiliating skit after another. Gravity, if you like, was their straight man: the crunching comedown, the bathos of impact.
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