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|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
dir Jeff Tremaine
scr Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine
prd Derek Freda, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine
with Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Georgina Cates, Kamber Hejlik, Brittany Mumford, Blythe Barrington-Hughes, Kassidy Hejlik, Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener
release UK 23.Oct.13, US 25.Oct.13
13/US MTV 1h32
Role model: Knoxville and Nicoll
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Taking a more narrative approach like Borat or Bruno, but without the social commentary, this comedy sees Knoxville expand his old-man alter ego into a full-on character. It's sporadically hilarious, with some inspired gags and deranged pranks, but for a Jackass movie, this is oddly gentle and sometimes even sentimental.
After his wife dies and his daughter (Cates) is sent to prison, 86-year-old Irving (Knoxville) is left in charge of his cheeky grandson Billy (Nicoll). The only option seems to be to deliver the boy from Nebraska to his low-life father in North Carolina, so they hit the road. And Billy proves to be just as precocious as his grandpa. Along the way, they shock people with their crazy antics, crash a wedding, taunt some male strippers and even enter a "little miss" beauty pageant for some badly needed cash.
Held together by the loose road-movie plot, the movie is essentially a series of elaborate Candid Camera-style gags in which people look on incredulously at the ridiculous things this man and boy get up to. The running joke is that the newly single Irving is continually hitting on women, often getting Billy to help. Reactions range from polite smiles to horrified disbelief, but almost everyone they meet is eerily nice.
Which perhaps is a sort of political commentary about Middle America. It's quite intriguing to see people so nonplussed about this old man apparently carrying his dead wife's body in the boot of his car or guzzling beer with his 8-year-old grandson. Most of these set-pieces aren't very spontaneous; they're intricately created scenarios. This includes the best prank at the film's climax, as Irving drops Billy off with his clearly money-grubbing loser dad in a bar hosting a meeting of a biker gang dedicated to protecting abused children.
Knoxville is surprisingly good as Irving, likeable even as he's relentlessly rude and often disgusting. And the smart-sharp Nicoll is startlingly fearless; his jaw-dropping pageant performance is the most hilarious sequence. Their terrific chemistry offers a rather sweet portrait of a cross-generational relationship, while the closing credits outtakes reveal their backstage camaraderie, plus reactions when their stunts are revealed. But while it's occasionally funny, this movie doesn't have Jackass' usual raucous energy.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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