Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
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86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with one of the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old grandson Billy in "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa". Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicoll) 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 child beauty pageant contestants (and their 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.
Hidden-camera footage has become a prevalent form of modern comedy, to the point where everyday citizens should just pretty much assume that they're being secretly filmed at all times. (Yes, possibly even while reading this.) While the comedic benefits of such unscripted responses can be huge, the use of innocents as unsuspecting punch lines can also seem awfully mean-spirited in the wrong hands. Bad Grandpa, courtesy of the Jackass crew (including producer-cowriter Spike Jonze), somehow manages to navigate the gap between inappropriate humor and unpleasant aftertaste, pranking onlookers in a way that doesn't make them the butt of the joke. Even when going for the grossest of gross-outs (there's a bit with a vending machine in here that should inspire spit takes around the world), it carries a weirdly endearing sweetness. Expanding on a bit from the second Jackass film, the barely there plot follows a recently widowed senior citizen/dirty old man (Johnny Knoxville, under a mountain of alarmingly good makeup). As he attempts to swing back into the single life, he gets saddled with his impressionable 9-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll). Cue a bunch of things that cannot be easily described in a clean fashion, including a dance number by Nicoll that may very well herald the end of days. While the setups of each individual prank here rarely vary from the standard Candid Camera formula, director Jeff Tremaine and the exceedingly game Knoxville always find a way to go a bit further with the punch line than expected, often getting extra guffaws out of sheer enthusiasm. (A sequence with a malfunctioning bed is a thing of whiplash-timed beauty.) Their willingness to go the extra mile helps place Bad Grandpa high in the dirty-joke ranks. You may feel guilty for laughing, but in a good way. --Andrew Wright
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The people bad-mouthing this movie are suspect, and they might just be on a fugitive list somewhere, or a congregation list. In any case, you will find much to laugh about. Some scenes are way funny, some...not so much.
I liked the fact that they show the outtakes at the end and make it clear that the cameras were set up as HIDDEN before the scene was shot. I say that because in some scenes I was not certain that the "pranked" parties were not in on the prank. There are some memorable bits in this movie and the pranks blend in well with the back story plot.
On the sad note, there really are some people who see kids as nothing but a meal ticket, a way to collect a government check each month. The movie father of the little boy is one such numb nert. I wish that that scene had been a little more violent, but then, the father was an actor and not a real dead bead scumbag. Protect the children!
Yes, it could have been better, so could your first sexual encounter with the neighbor, so who's counting? Suspend belief and accept that this is a JACKASS movie that has been adorned with a story/plot and let your winged heels do the rest, Loretta!
Actually, aside from it telling a very decent film about a curmudgeon grandfather finding a little bit of humanity in himself during a road trip with his grandson, it becomes even more than that. It actually serves as a bit of a cautionary social tale, since much of the movie relies on normal bystanders either reacting to or getting involved with the actions of the characters on-screen. Frequently, this involves normal every day people being complicit in simulated criminal activities. And when it's not that serious, it's just fun to see how normal people attempt to polite their way through some of the antics of the movie cast.
Although this is definitely title that lives up to its name, there's a bit of heart to this movie. At least there's enough to keep you interested between scenes of absurdity.
There are some really great scenes in this movie. The opening is a real highlight. As is a certain scene involving a child beauty pageant. And there's some very creative prosthetic usage in a scene involving a Chippendale show. The best scenes in this movie do tend to be those that wouldn't be far removed from you average Jackass bit, but in spite of that, I thought they were very well executed.
Now this isn't going to be a completely seamless Hollywood film. It relies a lot on improv, so some scenes might go a bit long, or feel like they could use serious editing. But that's just this movie's particular style, and I think it's better for a more naturalistic semi documentary feel.
Overall, this movie isn't for everyone, but I do recommend anyone curious to at least check it out. You should probably gave a good idea if the movie is for you or not within the first ten minutes. And if you liked the first ten minutes, then I'm pretty sure you'll like the entire thing.
No other film is quite like this. Hidden cameras are used everywhere to provoke reactions, and the setups are all but maybe one or two thought out extremely well. In fact, there isn't too much you could do to make the movie better. A perfect film to see with your teenage kids or just by yourself. HILARIOUS.