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Jackass 3.5: Even More Pranks, Stunts and Skits
Jackass, in all of its reincarnations, is and has always been one of those love-it-or-hate-it film series. Needless to say, fans will be more than happy with the release of Jackass 3.5.
It’s claimed that two films' worth of usable footage was produced in making Jackass 3D, and so the amount of extras on this DVD is pretty spectacular.There are more, and at times better, pranks than what was in the original release.
Though the musings of boyish pranksters and stuntmen
probably aren’t the most enlightening, scenes are intercepted with an
occasional interview with cast members. Though nothing particularly informative
or constructive is emparted in these snippets, the cast do bring their untamed and carefree
recklessness to the interviews. Even Jeff Tremaine chips in and gives a
director’s view on the creation of what is actually a one-of-a-kind product.
Even after three MTV series, three films, a videogame, and various similar spin-off shows, Johnny Knoxeville and the crew of misfits seem to have lost not one ounce of enthusiasm. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that their fame and an increasing lack of unexplored territories have limited the range of pranks that they can pull off. Even with the advent of 3D cinema, their attempts to utilise the technology has turned their formula of crude, simple ideas, into one of more elaborate and extravagant ones that somehow lack the primitive charm, which made the franchise so peculiarly popular.
Big set-piece stunts such as the beginning and opening sequences are indulgent, and it’s other smaller stunts such as a game of tether ball being played with a beehive, or a sports car being used to pull one of the guys’ tooth out that make this a strangely compelling view.Jackass 3.5 will make you laugh, cringe, flinch and to occasionally bring a tear to your eye. This won’t win the franchise any new fans, but will more than appease current ones.
Harrelson has a starry supporting cast backing him up made up of the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, Ben Foster and Robin Wright Penn. Brie Larson plays Dave’s daughter Helen, and after him, she’s the best thing about the film. The relationship between the two runs on hate and scorn mixed with a twisted kind of love. It brings to mind the saying about how blood is thicker than water. How you can hate a family member so much and see them for the worthless scum that they are, yet still allow their opinions and words to affect you. It’s a toxic relationship, one of many in the film, yet it packs a punch that the others don’t.
The story is occasionally difficult to keep track of as it jumps abruptly from one topic to another, but Dave’s internal conflict is more compelling than anything the story throws at you. Dave and Helen’s scenes together are far more powerful and infinitely more interesting than any of the scenes in which he brandishes a gun or kicks a guy to a bloody pulp. The film has some fine camera work; it forgoes flashiness just for the sake of it and instead focuses on bringing the viewer in closer to the actors. It works with the actors to set the scenes’ mood instead of just framing them.
The title of Zohra We Azwagha El Khamsa (Zohra and her five husbands) is misleading. The Zohra in question (Abdel Razek) doesn’t actually engage in a promiscuous relationship with five different husbands all at once; instead, she spreads them out over the course of 30 episodes. However, credit must be given to the insinuating title that has infuriated many lawyers and sent them out on a lawsuit spree. The show’s creators sure do know how to catch the public’s attention, but do they have what it takes to craft an engaging drama? Well, as trashy as their show may be; it’s hard to resist.
The show is written by TV veteran Mustafa Moharam, who is no stranger to dramatising polygamy. Having written Al Hag Metwaly, a show that stirred up a frenzy back in 2001 with its insatiable treatment of multiple marriages, the social-trends’ dream-catcher flips his old script around to focus on a passionate woman instead.
Early on, Zohra is just a poor nurse with irresistible charms; the prototype for the sexy nurse fantasies if you might. She can’t tolerate her older brother’s strong grip on her life; so she marries her way out. After serving a short prison sentence and ending her first marriage, Zohra finds out that she has lost her old job. She gets hired as a nurse in another hospital, where she meets Al hagg Farag (Yousef), an old business man with old-school entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for tramps.
Hagg Farag falls under Zohra’s spell, and after his constant nagging, Zohra agrees to marry him. Her natural gift of business management fully blossoms; she also gives the hagg the male son that he has wistfully dreamed of.
Having married the hagg out of a sense of responsibility, Zohra falls for a younger dreamboat with broader shoulders by the name of Maged (Yakhour). Zohra ends up deserting the old Hag for Maged, and the two spend the most magical cohabitation period of their lives together in marital bliss. As fate would have it, this perfect match ends tragically with the death of Maged. Zohra’s coping mechanism in dealing with the loss of Maged is to go on a marriage binge.
As a drama, Zohra We Azwagha El Khamsa throws every imaginable crime-page cliché into the sink with bribes, murder, domestic abuse and backstabbing. The show is very much an homage to 80s and 90s melodramas; even the shooting style and musical score are very reminiscent of older drams.
Part of the show’s main assets is Zohra’s ability to lure men into her web. It’s as if Zohra is the polar opposite of Hend Sabry in Ayza Atgawez. One can’t find a suitor, while the other can’t seem to get a break. For reasons beyond our grasp, men are drawn to Zohra’s tok-tok chic like moths to a flame.
Zohra’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. The show rings of familiarity; we’ve seen these archetypes and plotlines before; there is nothing newly interesting to hold our attention.
Despite being contrived, Zohra still has the elusive allure of an overheard neighbour’s fight. It has the added benefit of being the season’s sauciest show; a fact underlined by the numerous scenes (twenty-two just from the first ten episodes) that had to be cut for having inappropriate content.