Action Point is a comedy about a reckless, immature, amusement park owner who attempts to attract customers to his struggling business by creating the most dangerous rides possible. That is pretty much all there is to the story, which sacrifices stuff like plot, character and humor for many, many, many scenes of people getting hurt by doing something dumb.
The appeal of the film is twofold. First, it is very loosely based on an actual amusement park in New Jersey. Second, Action Point stars Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame, so the stunts are real. Even if you were entertained by his previous work, it is difficult for me to imagine anyone finding a lot of enjoyment here. There is far too much plot for Knoxville’s fan-base and far too much people falling off of things or getting hit with things for someone outside of that fan-base.
I can certainly see how a movie set in an unsafe amusement park could be funny. But it feels like the filmmakers heard the true story and then used it as a lame clothesline for Knoxville’s stunts. There are endless possibilities for the idea of a desperate owner trying to lure customers to an amusement park. This movie takes none of the good ones. The best Action Point can come up with is to dump its concept into a weak and poorly executed “outcasts versus the snobby establishment” plot. That does not work when the outcasts are too obnoxious to root for.
The biggest issue with Action Point is how unlikeable it is. It was meant to be hilarious stunts surrounded by an actual narrative, however the story is quite terrible and the stunts are very repetitive and generally unfunny. I suppose Knoxville’s D.C. is intended to be charming in a care-free, goofy kind of way. But I found him to be really unpleasant. He is mean, stupid and entirely irresponsible. I guess that could be okay, in a better movie. There is no explanation for his behavior or that of his employees. Why would someone want to work at a place that encourages injuries while mocking anyone who does not get right back up afterward?
It probably seems like I am being awfully harsh on this silly, raunchy comedy. After all, it just wants viewers to laugh and have fun. However, I was unable to get past how idiotic and sloppy the whole production is. The story is paper thin and derivative with characters that are barely written. Even at only 77 minutes (plus outtakes and a post-credits scene) Action Point feels extremely stretched out. Seeing someone fall off a slide may be mildly amusing once, but it gets repeated way too many times. It hardly plays like a finished movie. It is as though they had an idea for a project then just started filming without fleshing anything out. There is an outline for something here, unfortunately they never bothered to fill it in.
½ out of 5
Johnny Knoxville as D.C.
Eleanor Worthington-Cox as Boogie
Chris Pontius as Benny
Johnny Pemberton as Ziffel
Brigette Lundy-Paine as Four Finger Annie
Dan Bakkedahl as Knoblach
Directed by Tim Kirkby
Screenplay by John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky