Nut Shots in Your Lap

The Jackass crew returns, this time in 3-D

This is the time of year when Oscar-caliber movies start to roll into theaters. But amid all the glitz and glamour of great performances and heart-tugging stories, Jackass 3-D has somehow found itself wedged among the year's most prestigious films.

It would be easy to dismiss the Jackass crew as the lowest common denominator of entertainment, but for a generation that grew up during the TV show's peak years, these guys aren't idiots — they're idols.

That might be a mortifying thought to parents: A group of practical jokers who throw dog bones at each other's crotches are icons? But those of us who love the Jackasses know these guys are to be admired, not imitated. After all, we aren't jackasses — at least not total jackasses.

I was in seventh grade when the Jackass TV show was at the height of its popularity. I was the one egging on my friends as we filmed our antics on my dad's video camera. To us, riding a skateboard down the driveway into a folding chair was extreme. Finding a shopping cart in a nearby creek was just like discovering the Holy Grail.

The Jackass crew is like the few friends in your group who did stupid stuff with you all the time but always took it to the next level — like jumping off the roof onto a trampoline.

Kids love this kind of stuff. And deep inside we all wish we had the balls to do half the stuff that Johnny Knoxville does to his balls. But we have that pesky innate desire to stay far away from pain. And this is what makes the Jackass gang sorta like superheroes. Maybe more Mystery Men than Superman, but superheroes nonetheless.

And while we all pretend to hate fart jokes and physical humor — as if our entertainment standards should somehow rise above that — the reality is that everyone appreciates a well-executed slap to the nuts. In that way, Jackass is one big celebration of all the comedy we've become too afraid to admit we love.

On Friday, the crew's gimmick comedy hooks up with the ultimate movie gimmick for Jackass 3-D. It will be good to see those old friends again, still pulling pranks and having fun while the rest of us were forced to move on with our lives. It will also be a chance to pay homage to our pasts, when things were simpler and a perfectly executed spill from a fast-moving vehicle was the funniest thing in the world.

Inspired by Jackass, I dressed up the day after Halloween and went door-to-door looking for candy one year. The least I can do now is pay a few extra dollars to see some old friends who hit the big time for doing stupid shit like that.

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