Action Point review
Nothing says summertime like an amusement park. How many of us haven't spent a summer's day at Disneyland, Six Flags, or whatever your local park is. Given that I've been an annual passholder to places like that, I'm proud to say that I live for the roller coasters, atmospheric theming, walk around characters, and food that's only appropriate there. It’s also clear that above everything, these places want to enforce that idea that were about to experience the greatest thrills under control. A lot like how a movie's goal is to suspend disbelief, amusement parks operate with a similar notion of "suspension of control". This is where for those moments were on a thrilling ride, we get the ten second concept that what were doing is dangerous.
Today's movie is based off a real theme park in New Jersey called Action Park, which was open from 1978 through 1996. It was famous for having poor ride designs, unsafe engineering, and a staff that didn't care about safety. Regardless, it still did well for a while, and had even gained an audience because of that. I can't imagine an American park like that open today, but we can get a quick glimpse of it in Action Point.
Set during the 1970's, a crackpot owner D.C. (played by Johnny Knoxville) runs a local attraction called Action Point. It's a low-rent, crazy park where many of the attractions are already unsafe. Whether it be unkempt slides, go carts going too fast or drug fueled employees, D.C. simply doesn’t care. At the start of the summer, his estranged teenage daughter Boogie (played by Eleanor Worthington Cox) his staying with him. At the same time, he also finds out that his bank is about to foreclose on his park unless he can pay them back.
To make things worse for him, another theme park, a Six Flags-like park, is opening to compete. Knowing he can't compare to their larger roller coasters and entertainment, D.C. decides to makes Action Point as the true "dangerous" entertainment. This also includes removing ride speeds, stunt-like experiences, and even a looping water slide. Helping him include lifeguard friend Benny (played by Chris Pontius), Four Finger Annie (played by Brigette Lundy-Paine), and the rest of his staff. With Knoxville in the cast, you can certainly expect a lot of stunts that you'd expect from Jackass.
With Action Point, I figured that the movie would be a loose story with stunts, a lot like Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. I was surprised by how much it did try to incorporate a plot with character arcs and such. The only problem is that Action Parkis not good at it. The movie relies on you wanting this place saved, but given how chaotic it is, I really didn't. it's clear this this comedy is trying to be like Caddyshackor Animal House, about the rag tag team of misfits going against the establishment. The problem is that unlike those movies where the people were wild, but at least likable enough, Action Pointjust doesn't give us a reason why this park should stay open other then kids like doing stupid stuff.
Where the film is bound to disappoint is that for a brand that’s famous for it's stunts, there really aren’t that many. Is it because that only two Jackasscrewmembers are here? Perhaps. Some of them are impressive, but I still feel empty. I think a lot of it was that the focus was on the story, which on its own is too cliché and familiar to other comedies. This also reflects the biggest issue, that being except for Knoxville, the other comedians are not that good with the dialogue.
I'll give this two looping water slides out of five. Action Point just didn't make me laugh that often. It also steered too far away from the typical Jackassformula I like the idea behind this, but perhaps they should have made a comedy about the real Action Park then making up this Action Point. This is one stunt that wasn't worth the pain.