May 3, 2014

Review: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)

Me and Jackass don't really have the best history. The TV series itself was alright but better than the movies in my opinion. There have always been some pretty funny stunts but the movies have a way of going overboard with the toilet humour that I'm not into. Toilet humour is fine in very, very limited quantities. With the Jackass movies though, there's just too much. It's been a while since I've seen any of them but that's what sticks out in my mind.

For me, a related production that I always loved was Wildboyz with Steve-O and Chris Pontius. I would stop everything if it came on TV which was usually on a French channel funnily enough but thankfully with subtitles and not dubbed. For me, Pontius is my favourite of all the Jackass gang. Him and Steve-O would go to exotic countries and mess around with dangerous animals and other nonsense. It was always respectful though and quite honestly, I'd learn a great deal. Mostly not to mess around with dangerous animals.

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Genre: comedy
Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Produced by: Derek Freda, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, etc.
Written by: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Jeff Tremaine
Music by: Kool G. Murder, Sam Spiegel
Running time: 92 minutes
Production company: Dickhouse Productions, MTV Films
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures, United International Pictures, Paramount Pictures Entertainment, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $15,000,000
Box office: $151,831,537 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris, Georgina Cates, Kamber Hejlik, Jill Kill, Madison Davis, George Faughnan, Grasie Mercedes, Marilynn Allain, Jack Polick, Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener  

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Synopsis


The story begins with the death of Irving Zisman's wife. During the funeral, Irving finds out that he has to take care of his grandson Billy because his mother is going to jail. Irving isn't too pleased with this so he plans on taking Billy to his long-time absent father. Basically it's a road trip movie with many stops along the way to permit Irving to inflict his form of comedy on the poor unsuspecting regular citizens across the country.

Review


I approached Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa with cautious apprehension. The way in which this movie is filmed is with hidden cameras which gives some pretty interesting perspectives. Johnny Knoxville dons his grandpa costume from past gags for the whole movie while following the narrative above. The results are....surprisingly not bad.

Some of the jokes/stunts are really funny. Awkward situations are created extremely well and Johnny Knoxville excels at keeping everything going. Probably my favourite sequence is during a visit to a certain bingo hall. Those poor, poor ladies who have to deal with Irving Zisman. He's as perverted as he is out of it and the reactions from everyone is pure, unadulterated comedy. Situations actually get a little dangerous at times, but the show goes on.

The gold standard of this type of movie is Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan where Sacha Baron Cohen also puts himself in potential harm's way in the name of comedy. One thing that Borat does way better is letting the scene continue. JP:BG too often cuts scenes short when I still really want to see the reactions of people. That's the most important part of making this movie funny and it just seem to happen a lot where a scene is cut short where I feel like there was more comedy to be had. 

Jackson Nicoll as the grandson of Irving Zisman is comedic gold. This kid handled himself so well and he carried scenes 100% on his own to great effect. He makes a great sidekick and I wouldn't doubt that a whole movie could be made with the character Billy on his own. 

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa isn't able to deliver as many laughs as Borat does but it's decent in its own right. A less trigger friendly editor would have made things even funnier if you ask me, but this is not a movie devoid of humour. Yes it's crude and there is some toilet humour as well, but it's kept on a short leash thankfully. I haven't mentioned this yet, but the makeup for Irving is also very well done and it was even nominated for best makeup and hairstyling at the Academy Awards. For a Jackass movie, that's a pretty big achievement.

Rating


6/10