Bad Grandpa (2013) Directed by Jeff Tremaine. Starring: T Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris. IMDB says: “86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companion: his 8 year-old grandson, Billy.”
Bad Grandpa is the latest venture by the Johnny Knoxville gang and MTV films. The film is a spiritual successor to the Jackass films, featuring a variety of pranks and stunts performed at the public’s expense. The plot of this film is loosely based around the 86-year old grandfather, Irving Zisman, played by Knoxville travelling with his grandson bill, played by Jackson Nicoll.
To sum my feelings up in a sentence: if you saw and enjoyed the Jackass 1-3, go see Bad Grandpa; if you did not enjoy those films or have no desire to see them, do not see Bad Grandpa. It is truly that simple, but let us have a look at some of the elements in play here.
The storyline of this film is virtually non-existent except that an elderly man has to transport his grandson. Everything that happens on that journey is a series of forced events and attempts at humor. I went into this film expecting, from the trailers, something in the same realm as Borat. Make no mistake, this film is no Borat, everything in Borat is laid out in a logical way that serves to further the plot of the film. Bad Grandpa is just a Jackass movie wrapped up in a Borat-esque bow.
The acting isn’t very good. Well, that’s not fair, it’s half good. For me, Johnny Knoxville is not a compelling actor; he’s an even less compelling character actor. I actually played a game in my head during the movie where I tracked how many times he forgot his “old man” accent and just sounded like Johnny Knoxville. He is able to be comedic and his timing is great, he just can’t portray a character. The only other billed actor, who plays the child actually had a strong performance, especially given his young age. I’m excited to see what the future holds in store for Jackson Nicoll and I thoroughly enjoyed the role he had in this flick.
The make-up on Knoxville was actually very well done and convincing. The set-up for some of the individual gags was also not disappointing. Overall this is a very medicore film with a few truly funny moments. I can’t deny that I laughed, sometimes loudly, at points during the film but overall I was left wanting more. I’ll echo what I said earlier, this is a film for the lover of the Jackass franchise, and not much more.
OVERALL SCORE: 50%