Expand Partners San Diego Comic Con 2014 Expand Partners
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Running Time: 
102 Minutes

During the blooper reel, indie darling Catherine Keener is shown in old age makeup and credited as "Ellie", even though an Ellie isn't shown through the duration of Bad Grandpa.

It's been three years since the Jackass crew graced the world with their immature, over-the-top pranks. In those three years, no one has been able to top the pranksters and their hysterical antics. Also, in their absence, they have lost one of their own. The tragic loss of Ryan Dunn has probably solidified Jackass 3D as the gang's last outing. For Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine, director of all three Jackass films, there was a hole left in their heart. Taking one of Knoxville's most infamous Jackass skits, the two have crafted a sub-par replacement for the beloved comedies by filming Bad Grandpa
After the receiving news that his wife has passed, Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) sets out as a man with something he hasn't had in 60 years: A man with freedom. He can finally chase the young tail he so desperately loves. Unfortunately, at his wife's funeral, Irving is met with his daughter and grandson, Billy (Jackson Niccol), with some news: Irving's daughter is going to jail and needs him to take Billy to his father in Raleigh, North Carolina. Reluctantly, Irving drives across the country with his grandson, including him in many misadventures, such as beauty pageants, ladies' nights and bingo games. With Irving behind the wheel, there's bound to be mischief close by. 
Johnny Knoxville is truly a king when it comes to improv comedy. His lack of shame and comedic timing allow him to a free pass at any embarrassing act. For such a talented actor to use his skills to bring a little heart and a lot of crude to one character is honorable. Knoxville owns the role and you forget, at times, that Irving Zisman isn't a real pervert. Well, he's a real pervert, just not in reality. 
In terms of humor, Bad Grandpa has a lot to offer. There are many scenes that will cause audiences to laugh, sometimes even hysterically. One scene in particular did a rare thing by causing hilarity while also allowing their actors to put their lives on the line. I'm not saying anyone was hurt, but there were moments I feared for Knoxville's life. There's no doubting that Bad Grandpa is funny. 
But in comparison to it's origin series, Bad Grandpa can be underwhelming. Jackass films were expert pieces in either building to a climax that resulted in maddening laughter or starting at the top and never letting down. In Bad Grandpa, each skit feels like the first 3/4's of a Jackass skit where groundwork is laid for a potential disaster. Yet, before chaos can ensue, the cameras stop rolling and move towards their next skit. Only two scenes come to mind when I think of moments that achieved total hilarity. Otherwise, some scenes are choked and it feels different. No doubt this was a byproduct of having such a young actor on set with unscripted, unaware civilians. The presence of Jackson Nicoll makes a mountain of difference between genuine humor and minor chuckles. While Knoxville is off running from cops, Nicoll is given permission to wander the streets, asking strangers awkward questions, in what feels like outtakes from The Andy Milanakis Show. People love kids, but it's an odd mix for Bad Grandpa
None of this would be a big issue if the Jackass name wasn't so heavily promoted in the advertising for Bad Grandpa. It makes sense why they would. Without it, who would really hear about this? But the result of including the Jackass name is an expectation of gross out humor, constant laughter and unlimited possibilities of what could happen. As a standalone movie, Bad Grandpa is funny and often times, hilarious. The editing and the simple story of Bad Grandpa becomes monotonous and expected. For a film revolved around shock humor, there just isn't a lot of shock. 
But this is all in terms of what it could have been. As it stands, Bad Grandpa is a fun, if limited ride that offers a good amount of laughs. Besides, where else are you going to find Spike Jonze in drag playing dead? 
Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook