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October 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to tell whether Paramount decided to screen Jackass 3D in advance to a select group of New York critics and shun all others. (The previous two Jackass movies were not shown to critics.) Among those who got an early look was Manohla Dargis, the often tough-as-nails critic of the New York Times, who was surprisingly restrained in her review of the earlier films. Even in her review of the latest film, she acknowledges that “there is a certain, sometimes inexplicable, queasy pleasure to be had from watching Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius and the rest of these MTV-sponsored merry buffoons wreak semi-havoc on one another, themselves and an occasional rattled and confused onlooker.” But, she goes on, “alas there are only so many times you can slurp from the same fetid well.” And clearly the two other New York critics who got an early look at the movie struggled to register their disgust with as much ingenuity as those who made the movie worked to produce it. Elizabeth Weitzman writes in the New York Daily News, “Ten years into the Jackass franchise, it’s obvious the well is starting to run dry. Then again, if you show Johnny Knoxville an empty well, he’ll jump in headfirst. After packing it with writhing snakes.” But Kyle Smith in the New York Post bests his New York colleagues with a faux intellectual dissertation comparing Jackass 3D with Dante’s Inferno (“Canto XXII”) and The Divine Comedy. Smith discerns that Knoxville and his colleagues “plagiarized” all their ideas from Dante “and disguised them as silly stunts to infect the minds of American youth with 14th-century epic poetry.” After comparing the raunchy scenes in the movie with the allegorical imaginings of the Italian literary master, Smith concludes: “Oh, and one more thing the comedy of Jackass 3D has in common with The Divine Comedy: Neither of them is funny.”

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