Bad Grandpa is the latest project from the Jackass team, and follows the already known characters of Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville in old man make-up) and his grandson Billy. The two are travelling across America, to drop Billy off with his father after his mother is sent to jail, causing trouble wherever they go.
Although this film is centred around hidden cameras and real life reactions, the relationship between grandpa and grandson, or getting rid of Zisman’s wife’s body, does put a narrative structure in place, to bring this together as a story. This is a difficult thing to do, but has been mastered by Sacha Baron Cohen with Borat and Bruno. However, Bad Grandpa doesn’t hit the mark like Cohen’s efforts.
Bad Grandpa is pretty funny, and although the laughs aren’t always out loud, for the most part will provide you with a chuckle. As expected the film is crude and littered with fart jokes, swearing and ball jokes, that Jackass has become famous for, and is still funny when they do it. There are sections of the film which are absolutely hilarious, which happens most often when the film is most daring. I think this film would do better for having less of a narrative and focus more on the pranks. It is the pranks that the audience have gone to see (or at least what I went to see) and as I have said, when these push the limit that is when the film really shines.
Hidden camera efforts do best when they push the limits of sanity, as this generates the greatest reactions – however this film doesn’t seem quite willing to push it far enough for long enough, and it is slightly disappointing that most of the films funniest sections have already been seen in the trailer, and not many gems are left hidden in there.
There isn’t a lot that I can say about the film, without ruining the pranks for those who haven’t seen it yet, but Bad Grandpa is a nice effort, and a good laugh – perhaps one to sit down and watch with your mates, so you can goof around yourselfs when the less interesting parts of the film are playing out. The characters are very funny, they are a perfect duo for short snippets of pranks embedded in a TV show or a movie – although dedicating an hour and a half narrative to the two seems a push too far for them.
I think I will enjoy this film more next year when it is released on Netflix and I can watch it in a student house with a bunch of mates, rather than sat in a cinema with strangers. This film is one you want to talk through parts of, and that isn’t really doable in the cinema. Although the two lasses sat behind me seemed to think it was acceptable to do so. It is pretty annoying to have to sit and listen to other peoples conversations and a running commentary of everything that is happening on screen – thank you, but I am watching it, there is no need to describe what is happening, I have eyes!
A funny enough 6/10