Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa: Less Stunts, More Plot
Jackson NicollJohnny Knoxville
In 1 Cinema
Stepping away from Jackass tradition, many will be pleased – perhaps even shocked – to learn that unlike any of the other Jackass films, this latest addition to the series actually has a plot.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’s results are somewhat of a mixed bag; for hardcore Jackass fans, it might be rather underwhelming in terms of stunts, but it makes up for it with an incredibly refreshing, and sometimes even moving, storyline.
Irving Zisman (Knoxville) is an eighty-year-old man who has just lost his wife – and he’s over the moon about it, proclaiming himself a ‘free man’, liberated from all marital responsibility. He can now pursue his long-lost dream of getting laid – something that hasn’t happened since the early 90’s.
Throwing a spanner in the works, however, is his eight-year-old grandson, Billy (Nicoll), whose mother has been sent to prison. But refusing to let this put a dampener on his mission, Irving decides to reunite Billy with his deadbeat dad, Chuck (Harris); a wannabe entrepreneur who spends his days getting high.
As a result, young Billy and Grandpa Irving set out on road trip across America. Their journey, of course, is far from conventional, and the double act soon find themselves involved in a series of awkward, outrageous and highly embarrassing situations.
Knoxville – hiding behind heavy prosthetics – manages to bring humility and a certain dose of likability to the perverted old Irving. He nails the walk and talk of a senior citizen, making it hard to believe that someone much younger is hiding behind that weary face. Naturally, he indulges in a few crazy stunts, though the daredevil shenanigans are kept to a minimum; the focus lies on the hidden-camera jokes, which get the best of most. Astoundingly, Nicoll proves to be a wise casting choice too; the nine-year old actor and his stony-faced expressions fit perfectly with the role and, considering his young age, he handles most of his dramatic improvisations like a pro.
Jackass loyalists may feel a little short-changed considering the lack of trademark crudeness and senseless, but endlessly amusing, stunts. But the reaction of innocent bystanders as they fall victim to the hidden-camera mischief is priceless. The story of two different generations, bonding in the best way they know how, adds a charming, albeit predictable, angle to Bad Grandpa.