Not every amusement park features sparkling clean rides and smiling custodians, small worlds and space mountains and more princesses per square foot than a Windsor family reunion. Take Action Point, for instance. This amusement park is mainly a largish plot of dirt filled with splintery wood, pointy wire, filthy water and the occasional alligator. It's owned by a guy named D.C., and boy, does he find it amusing.
It doesn't hurt that he drinks a case of beer during the average working day, keeping all the chaos at a manageable, blurry distance. His state of mind might be helped by the haze of marijuana smoke that float through the dusty park like fluffy clouds in an old-timey Western. Costs are pretty minimal, too. Why, if a guest falls through a hole in the waterslide and gets hurt … well, that's nothing a little duct tape can't patch (both the waterslide and the guest). Lawsuits? Nah. Most attorneys are too scared to set foot in the place.
Who does come? Kids, of course. Lots and lots of kids. Teens mostly, eager to drink beer and flirt and get a little stupid. But little kids come, too. After a while, the park's so full of the brats that D.C.'s forced to open up a kiddie area—mostly a petting zoo populated by wild squirrels, raccoons, an African porcupine and, oh, the gator of course. Nothing says family fun like a hungry, snapping holdover from the Jurassic era.
D.C., obviously, has only a passing interest in any of these kids: If he cared, he might at least have 'em write a will before they climbed into some of the rides. But he does care about the well-being of one child on the premises: his own.
Boogie, his 14-year-old daughter, is there for a summer visit. She loves her pops despite his (many, many) flaws. She really digs her daughter-daddy time, and she hopes they might even see a Clash concert together.
But she comes bearing paperwork, too: Her mother's longtime boyfriend wants to become Boogie's legal guardian, and Boogie's OK with that. After all, the guy's a responsible adult—and that'd be a nice change of pace for Boogie.
Still, she's got to find the right time to tell him about the papers. Maybe before he's had his 17th beer. Or after. Maybe when he's not being catapulted into a barn wall or flying off an alpine slide into the nearby cacti. And certainly not when he and one of his employees are playfully hitting each other in the crotch.
It might be a long wait.
Action Point is the work of Johnny Knoxville (who plays D.C.) and his merry band of mischief makers, who rose to fame in MTV's Jacka-- and raised the ante to truly dizzying, disgusting levels in a handful of movies. This flick focuses on similarly stupid stunts and gross-out gags, with only the barest wisp of a fictional plot to hold the thing together—not exactly a promising setup for redemptive content.
Still, we can find some positivity within that wisp, particularly in D.C.'s relationship with daughter Boogie. He loves his little girl, and he feels terrible that he missed a good chunk of her childhood due to his divorce. When Boogie and her mother walked out of D.C.'s life, he threw all he had into Action Point and its cast of misfits. He tells his daughter that, once his real family went away, the birds in the park "became my family."
Someone jokingly says, "Let God sort 'em out." During a graphic sex scene, we hear the Johnny Paycheck song, "I'm the Only Hell (My Mama Ever Raised)" playing in the background, in which we hear a reference to Jesus.
The sex scene mentioned above doesn't contain any explicit nudity. But it's got noises and movements aplenty, along with pants draped around ankles and such. A gross gag related to the scene involves a bodily fluid. Another fairly graphic "sex scene" of sorts involves two dogs, and we see quite a lot of their copulating.
The park mascot apparently has sex with a guest, which we see a bit of. Audiences get a quick glimpse of a porn magazine featuring full frontal male nudity. A woman in a midriff-baring top raises her arms, revealing much of her breasts. One guy's bare backside is on display. We hear that female guests have started flashing their breasts on some of the rides.
A character named Benny wears as few clothes as possible. He's seen in his skivvies a couple of times (which leave little to the imagination), and he sometimes wears see-through mesh tops that he "borrowed" from his girlfriend.
Women wear revealing and tight-fitting garb as well, including bikinis and halter-tops. (Audiences see a brief glimpse of two female guests holding hands, but nothing else suggests a same-sex relationship.) D.C.'s daughter—14 years old, we're told—wears tight-fitting clothing, and Benny ogles the girl a bit. He tells D.C. that she "blossomed" and "came back a woman." Lots of people make jokes referencing sex, genitals and crass behavior. Crude graffiti is spotted.
Knoxville and his buds infamously do all their own stunts: It's kind of the point, and Action Point was the roughest Knoxville's ever experienced.
"I got hurt more on this film than any film I've ever done," he told New York magazine. "I got four concussions, broke my wrist, busted my knee, got stitches, whiplash, uh, lost two-and-a-half teeth."
Four concussions. Pretty sobering, given what we now know about how concussions can impact your long-term health.
But no matter! Not in this movie, anyway! Indeed, D.C. (who is repeatedly hit in the head) says he never thinks better than when he's "recently concussed."
Stupid stunts litter the movie just like Knoxville's teeth apparently littered the set. Characters fall (or, more likely, are thrown) in countless scenes, sometimes suffering apparent injury. People are launched through barn walls; blasted off water slides with powerful water jets; fly off alpine sled tracks; snapped at by alligators; repeatedly poked by porcupines; chewed on by squirrels; smacked repeatedly by boards; bombarded with tank-fired tennis balls; run over by cars; fall from heights both great and small; nearly have their heads immolated by fiery stoves; etc. Injuries happen, naturally: When D.C. sees a guest with a gashed, bloody leg, he slaps a strip of duct tape over the wound and goes about his business.
Oh, and people hit each other, too. Boy, do people get hit. Sometimes with fists, but other implements are used as well. Sometimes in the face, but more often they get smacked in the genitals. Because there's nothing Knoxville likes more than people getting hit in the genitals.
In a volley of YouTube clips, we see some regular ol' folks—some of them kids—do dangerous stunts as well.
Crude or Profane Language
About 25 f-words, more than 40 s-words. And, with a few exceptions, most of the other profanities in the English language are uttered here, too, including slang terms male and female genitals.
Drug and Alcohol Content
We're told at the outset that the area around D.C.'s home and amusement park is plagued by his neighbor's alcoholic brown bear. We see said bear drink beer and whiskey, and D.C. mentions at one point that the ursa major gets cranky when he drinks—warning folks to give him a wide birth after he downs a 12-pack.
If only the bear was the worst problem drinker here. As mentioned, D.C. drinks more than the boozy bruin: As soon as he's done with one can, an employee's on hand to give him another. (They also occasionally throw full cans into D.C.'s groin, because Knoxville.) Others drink like crazy, too. Indeed, it's one of the park's selling points that the beer's so cheap that teens can drink all day for half of what it'd cost elsewhere. D.C. even opens the park to rowdy, riot-minded revelers one day and tells them that all the beer in the place is absolutely free. (Chaos ensues.)
D.C.'s 14-year-old daughter drinks her first beer, too, during a night on the town when she sneaks out of her dad's house. Though her, um, chaperones, tell her that she can only have one beer, she may exceed that. Boogie's certainly quite drunk when D.C. picks her up, and she vomits on the way home.
Park employees smoke a lot, too—marijuana, cigars and cigarettes. One worker does lines of cocaine, then decides to mix the rest in with the cotton candy (a treat that becomes quite popular for the rest of the day). Benny seems to snack on prescription meds like honey-roasted peanuts: We see him rooting around in D.C.'s shelves, pulling down pill vials almost at random and popping whatever drugs they might contain.
Other Negative Elements
Benny suffers from diarrhea when he, D.C. and other staff members raid rival amusement establishment Seven Parks to steal lumber. Benny plops down on a bucket (left in a corporate hallway, for some reason) and does his business. D.C. stumbles into the Seven Parks locker rooms and urinates all over the towels there. D.C.'s shown with a urine spot on his pants elsewhere.
In an effort to pay off a large loan, D.C. decides to draw more people into the park by removing all speed limits and safety barriers on Action Points' rides, leading to still more mayhem. A man vomits while riding one of those attractions, and it's chronicled in super-slow motion.
Benny spits what may be chewing tobacco on a map. In the future, D.C.'s granddaughter paints D.C.'s seriously disgusting toenails. Future D.C. also says "honest Injun," before he remembers that he's not supposed to say those sorts of things anymore. There's a reference to giving Action Point an "excitement enema." D.C.'s thrilled that on a particularly busy day, the park ran out of "beer, corn dogs and toilet paper in that order."
So, we all know that in the real world, some folks trying to shut down Action Point would be the good guys, right?
I'd like to think that Johnny Knoxville, somewhere deep inside, understands that too. As the credits roll, we see footage of Knoxville being frantically attended to by emergency personnel after he launched himself off an alpine slide. When he stands up, everyone applauds … but we can only assume the stunt accounted for one of his four concussions, along with a tooth or two. It's the only acknowledgement anywhere that the film's admittedly stupid stunts are called "stupid" for a reason.
The rest suggests that most of what we see here—the throwing people into barn walls, the alligators snapping at the feet of 10-year-olds, even the cocaine being dropped into the cotton candy machine—it's all just harmless fun. Because a little stupid never hurt anyone, right?
That sage philosophy is embraced by much of YouTube's culture—the goofy progeny of Knoxville's Jacka--, and perhaps even the direct result of the show's "inspiration." Seems like we see a new, dangerous trend crop up on YouTube every week.
"It's perceived as being 'fun' or 'exciting' or 'high-risk'," Dr. Arthur Cassidy told the BBC regarding YouTube stunts. "Anything that is high risk is intriguing, gets adrenaline going and sets up highly competitive game playing within the fraternity of late adolescence."
No coincidence that Action Point seems to target those in late adolescence, too.
Action Point isn't much of a movie, no matter how you slice its vomit-soaked layers. It's not just stupid: It's designed to be stupid. Any value found therein was clearly left accidentally, like spare change in a sofa.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Johnny Knoxville as D.C.; Chris Pontius as Benny; Eleanor Worthington Cox as Boogie; Aidan Whytock as Ron; Leon Clingman as Joel Green; Joe Vaz as Aldo; Camilla Wolfson as Mia; Matthew Peterson as Travis; Johnny Pemberton as Ziffel; Luyanda Biggz Kabanyane as Heavy Metal Guy; Brigette Lundy-Paine as Four Finger Annie; Michael Everson as Slappy
Tim Kirkby ( )
June 1, 2018
August 21, 2018