I saw this film opening night and it's now Tuesday. I finally feel like I fully understand my feelings towards it. I didn't especially like or dislike it. First let me say that I have been a big fan of the show since it started, have seen every episode multiple times, have been to one of their live shows, and follow all four of them individually. I don't just think they're funny, but think they are all four very genuine people who are uncommonly humbled and deserve the support they've been given.
Now the easy way to criticize this film is to complain about the story and the scripted segments and claim they're bad actors. That's what all the negative reviews are doing, but I'm not going to do that. I was honestly dreading the scripted scenes, but I ended up enjoying seeing the guys in that format and thought those segments were funnier than I expected. Is the story pointless? Very. Is too much of the runtime scripted? Yes. But I don't think those scenes are the ultimate problem.
Shockingly, my problem with the film are the unscripted segments. Now don't get me wrong, they are funny, and most of them do have a larger scale than the show. But unlike the show, they are so heavily edited and cut so quickly to the next, it feels like you're missing out on a lot. Imagine if in the Jackass movies the segments only showed the stunts and cut to the next one once the stunt was done, without showing any of the banter or reactions between the guys. It wouldn't be the same at all. Well that's the equivalent of what happens here.
Let me give some examples. Spoilers ahead. There's a scene where Sal is trapped in a hotel room with a tiger. But unlike if this happened on the show, you don't see the guys beforehand talk about how excited they are, and you don't see how Sal acted towards them after getting out of the room. He's just pushed into the room, you see a minute or two of him being scared, and then the segment ends and cuts to something completely different while he is still in the room with the tiger.
Another example is when Sal is forced (although the editing doesn't make it look like he was forced) to get another Jaden Smith tattoo. Remember how hilarious his reaction was after the first one was revealed? Well here, they tell him it's happening, then boom it cuts to him getting it, they briefly show it, and the scene ends. You see none of his reluctancy or really any real response before or after.
Another example is the final punishment with the plane. Now admittedly, this looked really cool and was really well directed. But, it just cuts from a scripted scene to him on the plane, and then the film ends during the footage of it flying around. Remember the episode of the show where Murr had to sky dive? He ran away from everyone full speed, threatened to quit the show, and was eventually talked into it while essentially in tears. Here, he's doing something more dangerous, yet you get none of that. No footage of him leading up to it or footage of him after the plane landed, and not even any reactions from the other guys.
I hate being critical of the film since I have so much love for these guys and are really happy for them. It made an amazing amount of money this weekend for a film only in 357 screens. But my favorite part of the show has always been the genuine, authentic banter between these guys. Them getting mad at each other, taking digs at one another, and just simply saying stuff off the top of their heads beyond giving orders and laughing. The editing just made the unscripted segments feel too cinematic. I understand that it's a movie, but it being shown in theatres isn't a reason to change what the challenges and punishments are like on the show. I've already given Jackass as an example as to how no changes were made and it still worked perfectly on the big screen. I understand that this editing issue I'm addressing is probably partly due to trying to cram everything into the runtime, but if that's the case, then there should have been less scripted scenes. Because there are a lot.