Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris, Georgina Cates
Over the years the often brilliant, albeit diabolical, television series of Jackass has branched out into the world of cinema and brought us feature length versions of the television shows. These had no story, no coherent narrative, and gave us characters you’d only know if you’d watched the series. We allowed this however. Jackass fans were more than happy to witness these crazy stunts and pranks on the big screen and the box office returns proved that. Now the Jackass crew leader, Johnny Knoxville, has gone alone using one of the television show’s funniest creations, Irving Zisman, the crudest Grandfather you’ll ever meet. Much like Sacha Baron Cohen did with Borat, Knoxville has taken a supporting character from an existing show and attempted to place a story around him. Unlike Borat however, this falls flat on its face.
The main premise here is that Irving is asked to transport his grandson Billy across the country and deliver him to his selfish father after Billy’s mother is told she’s going to jail. What ensues is a relationship between grandfather and grandson interspersed with pointless pranks and rip-offs of previously done sketches.
What Bad Grandpa fails to accept is that it isn’t a cinematic creation. The story is too weak and the funny moments have nothing to do with the narrative. These elements are there to shock but where Borat achieved greatness doing this, Bad Grandpa falters as it indulges in crudity. Borat was funny as it enticed unsuspecting Americans into showing their true colours, all the while linking it to Borat’s journey by comparing the U, S of A to Kazakhstan. The audience were in on the joke and political elements were raised. Here, however, we witness Irving jam his penis into a vending machine and a shart that Phillip Seymour Hoffman would be proud of. The best jokes here seem painfully irrelevant to the story.
Bad Grandpa does have its moments though. There were times when the audience were in uproar, as was I. Attempting to transfer to the big screen however only highlighted how the main character can’t carry a story and should have been left to shock unsuspecting citizens with his antics on the small screen. The gags were occasionally fun but the camera work was too obvious.
Jackass is a fantastic creation. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it pushed boundaries once upon a time. Unfortunately the show appears to have run out of steam and this movie isn’t good enough to carry the Jackass name.