Movie Review: Bad Grandpa

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Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll

Rated R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use, Running time 92 minutes, Comedy

Compare to: The Jackass movies, Borat (2006)

After taking a break from the sketch/prank/hidden camera bits Johnny Knoxville became so popular for in the Jackass series, he’s back and he’s working with a bit more of a story now. Not much of one, but story isn’t really meant to be the strong point here as much as the everyday civilian is thrown into an unexpected situation that they can’t un-experience.

Lucky for us, it’s not happening to us an we just get to enjoy it.

Irving Zisman is an 86-year old man trying to get his grandson Billy across the country so his deadbeat dad can take care of him while Billy’s mother goes to prison. As the two ramble on, they get into trouble like only a senile old man and a bratty little snot can. Knoxville dons prosthetics to achieve the look of Zisman as he and nine-year old Nicoll put people in tough-to-deal-with situations all caught on hidden cameras.

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And once again, that’s really all you can say. The rest speaks for itself. If you’re familiar with Jackass, you know the kind of pranks that you’ll be seeing in this one, though there’s nothing as disgusting as what’s in those.

Immature? Definitely. There are a couple scenes involving fake male genitals either hanging out of Zisman’s underwear or stuck in a vending machine, but there’s no scenes of men drinking bodily fluids or sticking foreign objects in orifices, i.e., the worst gags of the franchise that garner no laughs save for the people that don’t know how else to react. Here are poop jokes, old people jokes, old men hitting on women awkwardly…a lot of stuff with old men, clearly.

But is it enjoyable? Yep. Just to see how people react to the simplest inappropriate comment will have you leaning forward to see how they’ll respond. Some deal with it by pretending they didn’t hear or walking away, while others stare with wide eyes as they tell Knoxville- “Man, get the f*** right now.” It’s all understandable.

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There is the story as mentioned above, but of course it’s really just a way to keep things moving along so you can feel the thing is going somewhere. Thankfully, anything involving the plot is dealt with swiftly and is done before it starts to drag. My favorite bit involves Zisman’s recently deceased wife on the mattress that he’s hired two movers to take away. The way these guys deal with moving a dead body is surprising and hilarious.

Jackson Nicoll was featured in last year’s Fun-Size, a Nickelodeon movie about a girl having to watch her little brother on Halloween, the same night she’s been invited to a popular boy’s party. A drag for her, and anybody who had to watch the movie, but I remember thinking that Nicoll was a highlight. I’m glad he’s been cast in something that will put him to good use as a modern day little rascal.

You get the idea at this point.

You get the idea at this point.

Younger crowds will dig this one, and in some cases I think older ones will too, though the cruder moments may be a bit much. But as one 95-year old woman in the audience put it, “It’s ugly, but it’s funny.”

Grade: B+

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