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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa - Movie Review

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Bad Grandpa - Movie Review

3 stars

MTV’s Jackass franchise – now in its 13th year – grows old rather gracefully and spins off with Johnny Knoxville under heavy old man-prosthetic-makeup as he sends up the golden years of life.  Yes, Knoxville as 86-year-old Irving Zisman gets his own movie.  You’ve seen the gag.  You know it usually involves old man balls, explosive diarrhea, and other jabs at uncomfortable situations involving elderly people.  You also know the results can be hellishly hilarious.

With Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Knoxville’s still pranking people; still clowning around; still acting the fool but this time around we get something a little different.  Audiences get a plot as Zisman tries to connect with his grandson, played by Jackson Nicoll, and the results hilariously backfire as unsuspecting people are pranked and/or witness to the results.

Directed by Jeff Tremaine with help from longtime Jackass co-conspirator Spike Jonze, this movie is Knoxville gone solo.  A risky move for anyone loyal to the Jackass crew and still wanting to see them. No Bam.  No Steve-O.  No real excrement.  And you know what?  It actually works.  Sure, some of the antics are juvenile but – because we actually get to see how people reacted after the prank – there’s a decent human element that seals this effort as a worthwhile endeavor.

The prosthetics are believable and so is Knoxville, who carries the picture as a horny old coot rather pleasantly.  He’s never abrasive and, while the picture is definitely not for the easily offended, he actually has a certain sweetness about him as he shares the spotlight with his 9-year-old sidekick.  The kid is foul-mouthed and, with a picture, like this it’s to be expected.  Yet, the acting from the two feels genuine.

The only hiccup in the execution of the film is that the filmmakers – including the editor – never really find the much-needed pacing to make the handheld moments between the pranks and the actual storyline feel believable.  There’s a lot of shoehorning as we juggle real live pranks with an actual storyline inside a narrative that is half fiction and half real.  Some of the pranks don’t come across naturally, as a result.  And the same is true of the “scenes”; the massaging between the two settings just doesn’t truly gel.

The citizens of the Midwest and of the South are the fortunate.  They, while being pranked (and this includes a whole lot of nasty-looking bikers in a bar), keep their wits and their moral center while Knoxville and Nicoll do their best to break them of their good habits.  It doesn’t work.  The humanity of the eyewitnesses is humbling and inspiring.

Bad Grandpa, as a social experiment, actually does much to restore any loss of faith you might have in humanity.  If you need a purpose for this film to exist, there it is.

Bad Grandpa - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.
Runtime:
92 mins
Director
: Jeff Tremaine
Writer: Fax Bahr, Spike Jonze
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris
Genre: Comedy
Tagline:
Bad Grandpa
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hurt you? I'm 86 years old!"
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
www.jackassmovie.com/social
Release Date: October 25, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: 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.

No details available

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