Jackass Forever has opened to rave reviews as the best franchise installment yet, but how much of Jackass Forever is actually scripted?
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Jackass Forever.
The fourth franchise installment Jackass Forever reaches new levels of carnage and mayhem, but how much of the movie is actually scripted? Jackass Forever has received a raucous opening reception, with critics and audiences alike proclaiming the fourth Jackass movie to be the best one yet. This is partly owed to the heapings of nostalgia Jackass Forever doles out, with the film bringing back several infamous stunts from the first Jackass movie and the early days of the original MTV series.
By and large, the core cast of the previous franchise installment Jackass 3D returns for more outrageous stunts in Jackass Forever, with Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren, and Preston Lacy all making their final Jackass appearances. Jackass Forever is undoubtedly a fitting finale for the original crew members that ups the ante on its predecessor’s off-the-wall action while also acknowledging the agonizing physical toll the last two decades have exacted on Knoxville and his co-stars. Moreover, Jackass Forever is jam-packed with big-budget stunts 12 years in the making that act as a wholly enjoyable coda to the Jackass film series.
While the vast majority of Jackass Forever is a scripted and carefully planned affair, the movie’s best component – the Jackass cast’s genuine reactions – is still entirely off the cuff. As with previous Jackass movie entries, Jackass Forever‘s introduction, large-scale stunts, and guest appearances are all planned well in advance and require careful planning to ensure a perfect setup prior to the mayhem of the actual stunts beginning. However, many of the smaller pranks in Jackass Forever are largely spontaneous, acting as improved add-ons to already existing scenarios.
In a 2018 AltPress interview before Jackass Forever‘s conception, Johnny Knoxville stated he had compiled over 200 pages of fresh stunt ideas to use in his next Jackass movie. Many of these ideas not only made their way into Jackass Forever‘s final cut but also helped secure the necessary funding as some of the movie’s key concepts. This information helps to contextualize the scale of scripting and planning that goes into each Jackass stunt from conception to actualization, with scenes such as “Knoxville The Electrician,” “Cold Brew” (Eric Andre’s Jackass Forever cameo), and the “Bear Stunt” requiring extremely detailed planning and set construction to bring to life.
Yet what cannot be scripted in Jackass Forever, or indeed any of the other Jackass movies, are the reactions of the cast members and crew as they subject themselves to humorous and torturous scenarios. The genuine glee on the faces of every Jackass performer as Zach Holmes glides down a hill before landing in a bed of cacti is not only a real-time reaction but is also indicative of why Jackass remains such a beloved franchise despite its often depraved premise. By extension, there are several examples in Jackass Forever where the cast goes off-script and adds extra twists onto some of the film’s planned stunts, such as deciding to detonate the Port-a-Potty early in an opportune moment to catch Steve-O by surprise. Therefore, it’s fair to say that while Jackass Forever is planned, everything that happens therein is fully unscripted. The priceless reactions that really matter remain as genuine and unplanned as they were when Jackass debuted on MTV in October 2000.
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