Bad Grandpa: Blu Ray Review
"You can have anything in this world as long as you just try."
So goes a line from Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, the fourth Jackass outing with Johnny Knoxville to hit the big screen, but the first to simply concentrate on one "character" as the show hits the road. And I really wish that those involved had actually tried.
The oddest thing with this latest one, is its insistence on adhering to a plot; Knoxville latexs up as Irving Zisman, an 86-year-old man, who finds himself a guardian of a young kid Billy (Nicoll) after his daughter / Billy's mum has to go to prison for doing drugs.
Determined to dump the kid off to his deadbeat father, the pair set out on a roadtrip (along with Irving's dead wife who's dumped in the boot of their car) - and pranks ahead.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is a real hybrid of a film, and one which really doesn't seem to have an identity of its own. Its curious mix of a story and real-life pranks makes it feel like it doesn't quite know what it really wants to be; on the one hand, you've got Zisman and Billy interlinking the "pranks" with their interaction, a growing bond and some odd moments and then on the other, you've got the 86 year old farting in a cafe and spraying all over the walls, much to the horror of the other patrons.
And it's this which will provoke some belly laughs (much to your horror and guilt) but other moments that make you feel it's all a little tired and been done before. It's partially due to the rigid road trip structure that's in play throughout, with some of the best laughs coming from unscripted short burst moments (presumably the key to Jackass' continued success is the random, rapid fire mentality which is so absent in this), which only serve to highlight how different an outing this is.
The final show-piece is a supposedly shocking entering of Billy into a beauty pageant and his consequent strip tease act. Which was essentially done in Little Miss Sunshine, nearly 7 years ago.
Sure, some of the "thrill" of this comes from seeing the real reactions of those being pranked, but the reason why Jackass so inspired a generation was that there was an element of danger to the stupidity, a frisson of excitement and schadenfreude. That is sorely lacking in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa; not once does Knoxville put himself in danger and not once does he really do anything totally original, anarchic or utterly outrageous.
All in all, I've got to be honest and say based on this, I'd question whether you actually want a serving of Irving - if you like the puerile humour of the Jackass series, you'll be left wanting - and if you expect a riotous guilty pleasure, you'll equally be disappointed.