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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Posted by admin on October 27, 2013

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I’ve always have fun whenever I speak with my grandparents. Not only do they have a unique perspective on life experience and advice, but they have an unfound belief that they don’t care what the world thinks of them. Their in their eighties or nineties, so I think they’ve earned the right to do what they feel. Consider the last time my grandpa on my mom’s side came over. We were all eating on some boysenberry pie from Marie Calendars. I asked about whether or not I should be handing out candy to trick or treaters or to go to a party. To my surprise, he told me to go pranking.

I’m not the kind of individual that takes pleasure in pulling pranks. It’s not that I’m so much of a goody good that I can’t pull a good prank, it’s simply that I can’t keep myself straight-faced during the joke. A lot of times when I would try to trick a friend or my mom, I can’t help but burst laughing before the punch line hits. So I would rather see other pull better pranks. The Jackass franchise has made a living off of pulling pranks (or occasionally doing something too stupid to mention).

From all previous films, there has been at least one segment in which one or more of the guys would dress up in old people makeup to hide their identities. I still laugh when I watch the first movie too see Johnny Knoxville dressing up as a senior citizen going shoplifting.  I can’t say it’s my favorite of the pranks, but it can become the most unsuspecting, as they are all hiding under two layers of latex makeup, and there fore, can get away with more. For Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, they attempt to take one prank and sustain it for an entire movie through a story.

The film is a Borat-style documentary where they use hidden cameras for reaction shots from people as Knoxville does anything he can to make people angry. The plot centers on eighty-six-year-old Irving Zisman (played by Johnny Knoxville) whose wife has just past away. At the same time, his grandson Billy (played by Jackson Nicoll) is without a home as his crack-addicted mother is going back to prison. So Irving takes him on a road trip to bring him to the boy’s father in North Carolina. Along the way, they encounter stolen food, male strippers, dead bodies, and run over signs as the two bond over bringing distaste to everyone else.

I knew that trying to pull off a prank for an entire movie was a gamble for the Jackass crew (only one is present here). Does it pay off? It works…for a while. I’ll give credit for both Knoxville and Nicoll for being able to stay cool under all the stress of these pranks. As I said, it can’t be easy to pull off a straight face as all this funny stuff is going off. So the movie has some pretty good improv actors.

But what about the pranks? Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa does have plenty of good jokes that I remember laughing at for a while. The opening bit with Knoxville and a vending machine had me running out of air as I was both shocked and bursting out with hilarity. Though the more I think about it, the more that I kept thinking that I wasn’t laughing as much as I should have. There are plenty of bits I feel like go on too long and even if the reactions from the people are truly genuine. The story may have worked, but I think I liked it better when the Jackass movies were more of a random set of clips with their best material. Here, it comes off as too restrained by it’s one gag. It’ll make plenty of people laugh, but I doubt anyone will declare Bad Grandpa their favorite of the bunch.

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I’ll give this three and a half rascal scooters out of five. If you didn’t like the other Jackass movies, then this will probably not sway you over, and it’s not the one I would show to introduce non-fans. I was glad I saw it, but I would hope that the next movie can go back to a more random formula. 

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