There’s no question that when Johnny Knoxville et al decided to test the limits of their bodies to the very breaking point (and sometimes beyond) it created a cultural phenomenon that would reverberate around the world like a slap on the fat one’s ample backside. And so, that brings us inevitably to Sackass, where Santa Claus, his elves and a revolving cast of his friends and family put themselves through ever-increasingly stupid and puerile stunts.

Although it may have been helped by advance publicity of one of their skits falling foul of the censor’s scissors (Ghosts of Christmas Past, where they resurrected the ghosts of 230,000 victims of the Boxing Day tsunami) and the tabloid frenzy that followed Santa’s boozy recreation of “Jingle Bell-end” on Loose Women, this film has some genuinely funny moments.

Ostensibly, the “storyline” as much as there is one, is Santa and his elves recreating the 12 Days of Christmas, or 12 Pains of Christmas as it is here, along with numerous other practical jokes tenuously linked to all things festive.

There is a “Eat Drink & Be Merry” sketch, where Santa attempts to eat and drink all of the cookies and milk that would be left for him around the world on Christmas Eve, Jamie & Adam from Mythbusters take part in a Sackass myth regarding psychedelic reindeer urine, The Holly Thong is reasonably self-explanatory, and in one genuinely stomach churning moment, Mrs Claus is tricked into eating Santa’s “Yule Log”.

5 Cold Rings involves 5 naked elves sitting on blocks of ice until they can no longer stand it, and 9 Ladies Dancing is 9 men, including Gary Busey and a heavily made-up Silvio Berlusconi, pole dancing as a carousel revolves in a children’s playground.

4 Falling Birds is a standout; Bollock and three other elves prepare for a parachute jump, only to find, in mid-air, that Santa has shredded their ‘chutes, leaving them plummeting to earth, only for them to be plucked from the air by a gleefully giggling Santa in his sleigh.

Admittedly, this is never going to bother any Oscar nominations or best-of year lists, although who would have thought that Santa running through a Kansas shopping mall dressed as Barack Obama being chased by elves dressed as amongst others, Kim Jong-Il, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden could be quite so funny?

By Andrew Ferguson

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