Did 3-D Turn Jackass Into a Monster Hit?

I keep hearing that 3-D is "BACK!" ever since the box-office totals were tallied and Jackass 3-D conquered two weekends ago. Apparently, 3-D has gone from "the future" to "a fad" to "over" to "BACK!" all in a span of 10 months. Whew!

My personal journey to Jackass 3-D included a 10 a.m. screening. I specifically went to the tumbleweed screening because I've been to those Friday night Jackass screenings before. They are madhouses. Don't get me wrong, they are insanely, but I had to drag my wife as it was, and to put her through the circus of freaks that show up to a late-night screening of Jackass might have cost me more of the dreaded "conversation payments" than I was willing to give up (for real, women be talking). When I went to see Jackass Number Two the theater scene was something straight out of Quills. The only thing that screening was missing was the creepy little pyro guy walking around excitedly with a candle. And I may have just missed him.

You have to be a little dirty to be excited for Jackass 3-D; this is a movie packed with massive amounts of painful stunts, poop, genitalia, vomit, and way, way, way too much fat-man sweat (that's my theory, anyway). And boy was I excited. So this is my point: My excitement had nothing to do with the 3-D -- it merely added a novelty element. Nobody decides to NOT go see Jackass because the filmmakers didn't live up to their 3-D standards. I went to see it opening weekend because at my core, beneath my civilized visages, I have vulgar, base, and even distasteful cravings. At heart I'm still a boy who enjoys all those "Ow!," "Oh!," "PLEASE-GOD-NO!" moments. That is why the movie made $50 million on its opening weekend. Not because of 3-D effects, but rather -- perhaps to the great misfortune of modern civilization -- because there are a healthy number of cretins (like me).

I can't say the 3-D added much to the film, save perhaps for a scene that involves the pretty cheap effect of a blown party favor (how it was blown I cannot -- and should not -- divulge). I will say this, however: Jackass 3-D is the best-looking reality movie I've ever seen ... some very unsavory closeups aside (yes, I'm referring to you, "Little" Bam). I caught myself admiring some fantastic super-slow-motion shots captured with the Phantom high-speed cameras early and late in the movie. This was, of course, a momentary lapse, just before I reminded myself to switch my brain back off.

People will enjoy the perk of 3-D when it is best applied and most relevant. It isn't the tech-savior some are claiming it to be. Nor is it the devil. It isn't saving the industry any more than it is killing it. 3-D or no 3-D, fun with fluids dominates. Bring on Jackass 4: Smell-o-vision. Or, you know, don't.

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Dre writes for Film.com weekly.