Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
- Rob Carnevale
- 23 October 2013
The latest crass, outrageous project from the Jackass team disappoints more than it impresses
It may mark something of a departure from their usual set-up, but Bad Grandpa, the new movie from the Jackass crew is still heavily reliant on crass humour, outrageous stunts and pushing the boundaries of good taste. It’s also more miss than hit, despite some hilarious sequences.
Johnny Knoxville adopts his 86-year-old Irving Zisman persona and heads out on a road trip aimed at reuniting his eight-year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) with his estranged dad after his mum is sent to prison. The ensuing journey, apparently captured on hidden camera, adopts a Borat-style approach: Irving and Billy getting themselves into all manner of pratfalls with a heavy emphasis on capturing the response of a gobsmacked general public. Included among the outlandish scenarios is Irving cavorting with male strippers, farting (and worse) in a diner and getting Billy to partake in some under-age drinking to the obvious outrage of passers-by. But by far and away the film’s best moment involves the hijacking of a beauty pageant.
Alas, the uneven nature of the material highlights one of the big problems in this particular venture. Bad Grandpa is at its best and most fresh when it adopts more of an anarchic spirit to its comedy, but feels tired and tiresome during the more obvious and low-brow material. The script, co-written by Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine (who also directs) and Spike Jonze, also flies a little too close to the mark at times, while some of the set-ups feel overly staged or just plain repetitive (particularly one involving Irving’s recently expired wife).
Die-hard fans may well find plenty to laugh at but there’s an increasing sense that where once the Jackass boys were fearless comedy pioneers, they’re now content to imitate others, albeit in their own provocative style. Bad Grandpa disappoints more than it impresses.
General release from Wed 23 Oct.