Movie Review: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Bad GrandpaTitle: “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”

Director: Jeff Tremaine

Writers: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Jeff Tremaine

Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

For those who don’t know, Jackass is the inevitable evolution of “Candid Camera.” Stuntmen go out, pull a bunch of stunts in public (sometimes; sometimes it’s a closed set) and film the people’s reactions. After three Jackass movies, we get “Bad Grandpa.”

What makes this one different is that they put the stunts in the context of a story, as opposed to their usual randomness. Johnny Knoxville, under heavy makeup, plays Irving Zisman, a recent widower who is charged with taking his grandson to his deadbeat father. Along the way, hilarity ensues. Or that’s the idea.

This movie has a fundamental problem: It is a movie in two parts that didn’t fit together and conflict with each other. The story creates too much structure for the hidden camera aspect to work in full freedom that well. The hidden camera part distracts and detracts from the story. The story is extremely simple and predictable, but admittedly, if you’re seeing this movie then you’re seeing it for the hidden camera parts. And the problem there is they get bogged down by trying to stay in the context of the story. So it begs the question: Why did they bother?

The movie is barely passable. To its credit, they do manage stay on the story, and some of the jokes and stunts are somewhat funny, although a lot are more cringe-worthy, and it doesn’t quite hold the same trainwreck magic where you can’t look away that “Jackass” has. The makeup job they did on Johnny Knoxville is impressive, as well, especially since it’s supposed to fool real people and manages to do so. If you’re just in it to see the stunts, you’re better off checking out one of the Jackass movies, as this one doesn’t measure up.

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” earns 2 out of 5 stars.

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