Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl, Matt Schulze, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Johnny Pemberton, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Joshua Hoover, Conner McVicker, Eric Manaka
Written by: John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, based on a story by Johnny Knoxville, Derek Freda, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Mike Judge
Directed by: Tim Kirkby
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, language, drug use, teen drinking, and brief graphic nudity
Running Time: 85
Date: 06/01/2018

Action Point (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Park Attacks

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Johnny Knoxville's career is hardly the high point of culture, but as with his last outing, the surprisingly likable Bad Grandpa, this one is appealing, and often funny, in its reckless, naughty way.

In Action Point, old man D.C. (Johnny Knoxville) babysits his granddaughter and tells her the story of the time, in the late 1970s, that he ran the most epic theme park in history. In flashback, the story of Action Point's last summer, accompanied by a visit from D.C.'s teen daughter "Boogie" (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) is told. It involves unsafe rides and plenty of fun.

But D.C. and his crew of "s--tbirds" must step up their game when a bigger theme park opens nearby. D.C. decides to emphasize the "no rules" nature of his park, advertising that what you can't do at the competition, you can do at Action Point. His gambit works, but evil lawyers, led by the smarmy Knoblach (Dan Bakkedahl) continue to try to shut him down. Plus, when D.C. forgets to take Boogie to see The Clash, he risks losing both the park, and his daughter.

Like other summer-long comedies,Action Point has the raucous, carefree feel of something like Meatballs, One Crazy Summer, Happy Campers, Adventureland , or Wet Hot American Summer, but edgier; and, unlike that last, it's not an homage to anything. It has a plot, but half the point is to use the theme park to stage more ridiculous Jackass-style stunts and pranks, such as knocking Knoxville down a waterslide with a high-pressure hose, or smashing him through a barn door with a catapult.

When the plot does kick in, it's hard not to care at least a little bit for the touching, slightly clueless relationship between father and daughter and for the fate of the ramshackle park, especially with loathsome, greedy lawyers and businessmen as villains. The movie does play with the message that this 1970s "Wild West" ("people took responsibility for their own actions!") is preferable to today's politically correct era.

This idea, while one-sided, at least offers an interesting discussion point. The vintage pop-punk songs are energetic, and the colorful, misfit supporting characters (the "s--tbirds") are fun (including Jackass veteran Chris Pontius) and lovably goofy. The ending, more chaos than victory, is entirely appropriate.

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