The kids are alright, as they say – or at least, I think they are? "Magnum Opus: The .MOVie" is full proof that the youth of today will most certainly grow up to be the Jackasses of tomorrow…that is, if they survive their childhood. Everyone has to learn where the line is and where the threshold of pain eventually exists, I suppose. No one says you have to force that to happen quickly, but these dudes don't seem to mind. These are the students of the school of Knoxville and the exact kids your old man never wants to open the door - to see your daughter about to take to the high school dance, lest he gets his gun.
So let's be clear here – when I say Jackasses, I mean it in the most complementary way, as in the Johnny Knoxville type of Jackass, which has gone on to spawn a whole new generation of chuckleheads that wanna go down the same torturous road to fame and fortune. Whether these guys are doing what they do for the street cred or looking to seriously make these stunts a career one day – they've got the right potential to make the painful magic happen. "Magnum Opus: The .MOVie" was created as an homage and visual tribute to the Jackass show and the MTV generation, and you'll see how that works when you watch this for yourself. What I'll tell you upfront is that it's a lot closer in style than you'd probably expect to find; everything from the way the scenes fade, to the credits onscreen, to the ideas themselves - it all bears a resemblance to the broken-assed heroes that have blazed this trail for them.
I can see a bit of trouble for the reception of "Magnum Opus: The .MOVie," because it's very much true to the style they're looking for, but ultimately a lot like Jackass light. Part of me is thankful for that. I have to walk a fine line here because I don't want to encourage anyone to go out and hurt themselves for the sake of us twisted individuals having a laugh, but that's also the reality – when the Jackass crew gets injured, we laugh about it. We're not always laughing at the pain directly; in fact, quite often, we're laughing at the real-time reactions happening all around the stunt itself – and this is where I felt like the Magnum Opus crew got things right in that regard … they left those cameras rolling to make sure they got every morsel out of what they're doing. Do the stunts need to be bigger and better? Yes! I don't think they'd even argue that at the end of the day, but we all need to walk before we can run, or in this particular case, we all need to learn how to take a staple in the hand before moving on to nails.
My point is that we've all gotta start somewhere, and these guys made sure to play it safe enough while they're learning to be the stunt-men they eventually want to be. There's really no other way to go about it - you can't just roll your friend in a baby carriage into the middle of the road without knowing where the traffic is. You can't just start jumping off the roof of random houses without knowing how to land, and you can't water-board your friends with a gallon of milk without knowing when he'll need air. Like I've been saying, learning the threshold of what we can/can't do as human beings is a bizarre thing to pursue, but if you were to ask Johnny Knoxville, I'm sure he'd tell you it's real lucrative to get it right.
While somewhat forced, some of the comedy was brilliantly funny in that hit-ya-over-the-head with-it until we're all laughing. Things like Superman's appearance, Tony Hawk's day out on the town, or even asking the family pug if he likes green beans – this kind of stuff came from way outta left field and provided some really decent laughs. "Bet your bottom dollar, I like green beans!" – this is the kind of comedy that's so incredibly random you can't help but at least laugh a little. Someone MADE this movie – many someones, in fact – and that alone is funny AF when you think about it. They had to be into doing this to actually do it; you know what I mean? Their natural reactions to the ridiculous stunts they were taking part in also get you chuckling along and give you that feeling like you're a part of the action and crew, just like in the Jackass movies.
I was surprised by how much they genuinely got right about trying to emulate their heroes on screen, and I liked how they did their camera work. From the guest stars that pop up along the way to the quickest short scenes to the way their ensemble cast of quirky characters have that endearing strangeness you wanna cheer for – "Magnum Opus: The .MOVie" could very well go on to surprise you a whole lot more than you'd think. Presenting it in chronological order was a smart move, too – it's a real case of finding their comedy gold as it comes - and a bizarre reflection of how life is what we make it in the strangest of ways.
Given that I'm completely positive that "Magnum Opus: The .MOVie" is where things started, but maybe not where they'll end, we could very well be watching the next dynasty of Jackassery that'll carry us into this next decade to follow. I'm going to split the difference with these guys and give them a solid, respectable two and a half-stars out of five. They've got the right skills, the right style, and the right inspiration to do what they're doing. If they're going to continue this for a career beyond this moment here, they'll have to stop pulling punches and commit to a lifetime of pain, but if they do - they could go on to laugh their way straight to the bank.