Runtime: 92 Mins
Johnny Knoxville is only tolerable when he’s trolling. Or being used as a crash test dummy. He certainly wasn’t tolerable in The Last Stand (review). Here, he’s doing what he does best, trolling. So he’s just about tolerable. Bad Grandpa was one of the better skits from the original Jackass, after you’d waded through all of that homo erotic shit they insisted on. It is a logical place to go for a franchise that had ran its movie course. In fact it should’ve been the third or even second movie. They dropped the ball though, they knew that Bad Grandpa had a movie in him — they just didn’t know how to make a movie with him in it.
This is a Jackass movie but it’s not a typical Jackass feature. It has a fictional story acting as the backbone with pranks nailed to it. Bad Grandpa has a scumbag son who does not want his own son, a foul mouthed farting (lot of fart jokes, they don’t work) kid. So, in denial, Bad Grandpa unwillingly takes his grandchild on and grows warm to him. That’s a lot of sentimentality for something with ‘Jackass’ in the title. Just to be clear, the kid is a paid actor and this fictional side accounts for at least 50% of the movie. It could’ve been made worse by putting a kid in there, we all know how annoying kid actors can be. But the kid here (Jackson Nicoll), isn’t like that. He’s very laid back and at ease with the whole thing. Tuned in with what’s going on and smart, if nothing else, the boy was well cast.
The imposing family comedy might not have been so bad if the pranks were good. A Jackass movie and/or show is only as good as its pranks. And the best pranks are often the most simple. The problem here is that the pranks are elaborate and overcooked. That leads to a problem of suspicion – you wonder how such things could’ve been pulled off naturally and how the people being trolled could be so stupid. There’s nothing that outright gives it away, but the doubt lingers throughout as each troll-job gets more outrageous than the last. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of them were staged. If half the movie is fictional and the other half comprised of stunts, it seems to me that 25% of this movie is only truly ‘Jackass’.
The ending, by the way, very anti-climatic. Not funny and of questionable authenticity. While it bags a few legit laughs here and there, this is a long way from air horn golfing.
REVIEW SCORE: 6/10