If the absence of Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass has left a concussion-shaped hole in your life, it may be partially filled by Action Point, a juvenile comedy with Knoxville as the owner of a rickety amusement park who tries to compete with a fancy new park by embracing what makes his unique and removing all the safety measures.
Set in the summer of 1979, it’s a fond tribute to the child endangerment of yesteryear, with outtakes at the end to remind you not to try this at home. Knoxville plays D.C. Carver, a divorced, irresponsible goof who runs the waterslides, go-kart tracks, and related diversions of Action Point with his numbskull friends (including Benny, played by Jackass cohort Chris Pontius). A stuffy realtor (Dan Bakkedahl) comes sniffing around looking to buy the park, giving D.C. and the gang a suit-wearing grown-up to ridicule while they hustle to drum up business and save the place.
D.C.’s 14-year-old daughter, Boogie (Eleanor Worthington Cox), is here for the summer, enjoying his shenanigans as always but considering letting her mom’s new boyfriend become her legal guardian. The movie is only half-heartedly interested in such things, though. The important thing is for D.C., Benny, and the others to play pranks on each other, to harass wildlife (they want to build a petting zoo), and to engage in absurd stunts for their own amusement.
All of which is fine as far as it goes. Conceived by Knoxville, Jackass producer Derek Freda, Mike Judge, and Judge collaborators John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, the pleasantly anarchic film always makes it clear that Knoxville’s doing his own stunts, lest we forget the movie’s real purpose. There are solid laughs in the slapstick, made merrier by the knowledge that there’s no in-story reason for any of it. The dialogue is only occasionally funny (“What a day! We ran out of beer, corndogs, and toilet paper, in that order”), but it’s cheerful.
Still, you have to wonder: Why not just make another Jackass movie? The thin plot that holds Action Point together is only barely doing its job, and the movie — 78 minutes without the credits and framed by present-day elderly D.C. telling the story to his granddaughter — is as slipshod as the park.