Johnny Knoxville is getting older. He knows it too. The one-time (and perhaps perpetual) Jackass is close to hitting 50. His youth is fading behind him. He’s nearer to his old-man persona than the recluse provocateur he was two/three decades earlier. And the thing is, Johnny Knoxville isn’t in denial. Adulthood might not come gradually for the man, but it’s coming. His glory days have dwindled. He isn’t going to be performing too many stunts in the near future — unless he seriously wants to get hurt.
Action Point isn’t merely another studio comedy from the stunt-man entertainer; it’s the last hurrah. It’s a twinkle-eyed remembrance to the days of yesteryear, glittered by nostalgia and a smidgen of remorse, but by no means regret. His reckless youth is both no longer in fashion and the inspiration for thousands of idiots on YouTube. His relevance is dated. His days of being a premiere comedian are practically nonexistent. So there’s a very good chance Action Point might be the last studio comedy we’ll see lead by Knoxville. The box office for the film’s domestic U.S. release certainly suggests that’s the case. If that’s the case, it’s a pretty fitting one, admittedly.
Shabby though it might be, and unabashedly sentimental in its presentation, Action Point is Johnny Knoxville tipping his hat and walking off into the sunset. He’s not going away, to be fair. He’ll probably still be around, in some fashion or another. But the Johnny Knoxville we knew is packing up his bags and going away. 2010’s Jackass 3D was the climax. Action Point, in turn, is the epilogue. At least, for now. We might never see Johnny Knoxville, the fearless stuntman, again. If that’s the case, then we’re left with a serviceable but periodically entertaining tribute to his devil-may-care legacy, whenever wild and frankly filthy legacy (if that’s what it can be).
Pop open your beer. Pour out a slip for the lost comrade. Let your inhibitions be damned. Action Point is Johnny Knoxville giving his past a fond farewell and his unknown future a courtesy middle finger. But does that make it a good film? No. It doesn’t. But it doesn’t make it a terrible film either. Your bumpy mileage might vary, but if you have moderate expectations and you want something that’ll serve as a nice casual viewing between beers two and four, you might not be disappointed. As it stands, though, it won’t be fondly remembered. Or remembered much at all. But it will serve as a momentary goodbye for the man who rarely bothered with wondering what would happen after the big stunt, and it’ll serve as a curious remembrance to the man who, it seems, hardly ever was concerned about what came after the fact.
The plot is fairly simple. A feeble old D.C. (Johnny Knoxville in his typical old man attire) is left to care for his granddaughter one lazy afternoon, and that finds the senior citizen recounting the reckless days of yore. Specifically, the warm summer days when he was the proprietor of Action Point, a low-rent, safety-be-damned hazard zone of an amusement park, which hasn’t seen better days but has rarely seen worse ones. In a typical summer comedy trope, the park is in danger of being outsourced and considered a public safety endangerment, and the disjointed employees of the independently-owned business must find a way to save their behinds. In the midst of all this business disarray, however, D.C. also finds himself reconnected with his teenage daughter, Boogie (Eleanor-Worthington Cox) and attempting to mend old fences.
Helmed by TV director Tim Kirkby from a screenplay credited to Silicon Valley‘s John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (based on a story from Johnny Knoxville, Derek Freda and Mike Judge, in addition to Altschuler and Krinsky), Action Point is as disheveled and corny as the park that is at the center of its narrative. Much like the broken down would-be tourist attraction that shares the film’s title, however, it does carry a fair share of charm, and it isn’t without its appropriately amusing moments. It won’t stand out as a highlight for cinema, nor will it be recounted much beyond some Knoxville enthusiasts. But for those who want to remember the glory days fondly, you could do worse.