Release Date: October 24, 2013 (p.m. screenings)
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Screenwriter: Jeff Tremaine, Preston Lacy
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicholl
MPAA Rating: R (for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use)
Official Website: Jackassmovie.com | Facebook | Twitter
86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8-year-old Grandson Billy in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” This October, the signature Jackass character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicholl) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera.
Along the way, Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens.
Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.
Bad Grandpa is a hidden camera comedy movie, written and directed by the creators of Jackass: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine. I always considered Jackass to be silly in an unfunny way, and I was never much of a fan of pranks in general, so I was immediately turned off by Bad Grandpa. Also, the second main actor in this movie is a child, and pranks with children are usually the cheapest and least funny ones, since authors know they can make the kid say/do anything and always get a reaction from adults. In short, this movie looked like another comedic failure to me, but amazingly it proved to be very funny and entertaining.
The story is fairly simple: Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) is an 86 years old man whose wife has just died, and that makes him very happy, since he’s now free to pick up young women. Unfortunately, his joy is soon ruined, as his daughter leaves her son – Irving’s grandson – Billy (Jackson Nicoll) with him because she’s being sent to jail for drug use. Irving is supposed to take Billy to his father, and he accepts just to get rid of the kid, even if he doesn’t like the kid’s father – and so, a quasi-road trip movie begins. The story isn’t really that important, since this is a hidden camera movie, but it’s nice to see that the writers didn’t just dismiss the story for that reason and didn’t make this movie a collection of unfunny and loosely connected sketches that are going nowhere (like Grown ups 2).
Jackson Nicoll, who plays Billy, is one of the best child actors I’ve seen in a long time. He’s extremely convincing and talented, and even if you don’t like kids (in general or in movies), you’ll end up loving Billy. Knoxville is great as the ever-horny, foul mouthed old man, especially as he manages not to laugh at all of the sketches he put up and, in case some of you haven’t realized this, he’s completely shameless: for example, he agreed to pretend to have his penis stuck in a vending machine, among other things! There aren’t any other (relevant) actors in the movie, but the people’s reactions to the pranks are priceless. No “real” movie could have created such great comedy, because an actor’s reactions are rarely so well enacted, spontaneous and sincere. Like, if someone tried to mail a child and the post office employees found that out, in a movie they would immediately call the police. In Bad Grandpa, after finding out just that, one of the two employees just stood there confused, while the other tried to explain politely that they “cannot mail a person”.
I loved the (intentional?) social criticism in the beauty pageant scene. Irving dresses Billy like a girl and enrolls him in a pageant for little girls, hoping to win the first prize that is $5000. While performing, Billy’s dance song suddenly changes to “Cherry pie” by Warrant, he takes his clothes off and starts pole dancing in just panties, a bra and stockings. You can see all the other contestants’ mothers staring shocked and in disbelief, as if what they were doing to their daughters was any better. or less embarrassing and degrading. In conclusion, I don’t know why everybody seems to hate this movie: there are just a few fart jokes in it, everything they do is really funny, and there’s even a story you can follow and characters you can learn to love. If you want to have fun and you haven’t seen Bad Grandpa yet, do it, because you’re guaranteed to laugh for the entire duration of the movie!