If it’s fair to chide “Jackass the Movie” as an extended episode of the MTV show, then it’s fair to point out that “Action Point,” effectively a spinoff of that series, is a lazy summer romp in the “Meatballs” tradition with a handful of “Jackass”-style stunts as the scantiest of hooks.
True, Johnny Knoxville gets power-hosed down a slide and catapulted into a barn for our amusement, but the inventive, stake-raising, borderline surrealist gags of the old “Jackass” are gone.
Now in their 40s, Knoxville and Chris Pontius, the troupe’s other returning member, have endured so much above — and below-the-belt trauma — that it’s only natural for them to want to (mostly) coast through a lame father-daughter bonding plot. But neither is it much fun to see them upstaged by a beer-guzzling bear.
We’re not really watching to see whether Knoxville’s character, D.C., will take his daughter (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) to a Clash concert, or whether a corporate weasel (Dan Bakkedahl) will acquire the decrepit amusement park that D.C. owns and elects to make more dangerous to raise cash.
The inspiration for the setting is New Jersey’s defunct Action Park, the subject of news reports of drownings and other deaths. (Pontius’ jobs in the movie include lifeguard; his attitude is “let God sort ‘em out.”) It’s roughly 1979, and this is framed as a halcyon era when injured revelers wouldn’t run to reporters or lawyers.
There’s no such risk with “Action Point”; only laugh-deprived moviegoers could sue.