Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The phenomenally successful Jackass franchise returns with this feature-length outing for Johnny Knoxville’s Bad Grandpa, but unlike previous films in the series this one has a plot (though that may be too strong a word). Ultimately it is a series of pranks and stunts gracelessly bunged together with chunks of filler material.
The film has a simple premise: when little Billy’s mother goes to jail, Grandpa Irving must drive him across the country to be with his father. Along the way they behave outrageously and fart a lot. A great deal of what was funny about the film relies on the reactions of the people being pranked, but there is nothing particularly revolutionary about it – when Grandpa steals food from a supermarket, the owner is angry, and when he takes to the dance floor of a strip club and joins in, onlookers laugh. Their reactions are exactly what anyone would expect – especially when Grandpa Irving seems to injure himself (trapped in a folding bed or falling over) at which point it is pleasing to see the genuinely concerned reactions of the general public, as well as their willingness to help.
There is a strange balance between the extremes of trying to irritate the victims of Knoxville’s stunts and trying to entertain them. The film shows off its better spirit when the actor is making people laugh, but it all translates to entertainment for cinema audiences in the end.
Plastered with convincing prosthetics, Knoxville plays his grandpa character excellently with a bow-legged gait and a gruff voice. He also displays some quick wit in reacting to the awkward situations that he gets himself into. Jackson Nicoll is endearingly precocious as Billy, and does a good job of remaining straight-faced. Ultimately, however, this is humour at its simplest: jokes about farts and the human anatomy, from the mouths of an old man and a child. Aristophanes was making the same jokes in the 5th century BC. That said, it is undeniably funny at points thanks to some good ideas, well-choreographed stunts and excellent hidden camera work.
Fans of Jackass will love it, and even those whose cynicism has kept them away from the franchise may find themselves unwittingly chuckling throughout.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is released nationwide on 23rd October 2013.
Watch the trailer for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa here: