Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Guilty pleasure worthy.
I’ll tell you what, I’ve always had a soft spot for hidden camera shows. You don’t often see movies with the same idea behind them, but I guess they exist…but are they good. Honestly, if you are a part of the limited target audience, I would definitely say these films can be appealing. Bad Grandpa was done by Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the Jackass crew, and I wasn’t expecting much out of it. You can watch a half hour of stupid hidden camera hijinks now and then, but a good hundred minutes worth? Wouldn’t that get repetitive? Surprisingly…no.
Shockingly, this film actually had a plot. It was a weak plot which was used only as a placemat for nonstop hijinks, but it was a plot nonetheless. After his wife passes away, Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) takes a job. His daughter is put in jail for possession of drugs, so he takes his only grandson across the country to his father in North Carolina. His father, however, also has no care in the world for his son, so throughout the road trip, Irving and his grandson bond over a crazy adventure with no end in sight. In short, the film is about a young guy in old makeup acting absolutely ridiculous.
I’m actually really glad that this film had a plot, because it stops from being a useless repetitive prank television show and starts being something with enough purpose to keep us watching. No, it’s not much, just enough. I’ll be honest too, the pranks are a hysterical riot. I feel so bad for actually liking them, because they are absurd and downright illegal at times, but you can’t help but laugh at everyone’s reactions to what they believe is an 80 year-old man who’s gone and lost his mind. It would be practically impossible to list off the pranks, because the entire film is filled to the brim with them.
What I actually really admire about the movie past having a progressing story, is not repeating the jokes. Think about how many candid camera shows there have been throughout the years. What show doesn’t do the same joke multiple times just to have different people react to the same thing? It works for TV shows, it doesn’t for a movie, and I’m glad they didn’t fall victim to that here. Yes, it can be seen in maybe one or two scenes, but it makes enough sense to be believable, like an old man hitting on multiple women. He at least makes different pickup lines. You’d be surprised at just how many jokes in the film are actually fresh. They all have the same theme, yes, and that is awkward humor. Boy oh boy, is the humor in this film awkward. You want to look away most of the time, but then you’re stuck wanting to see people’s reactions and how it turns up. The things done in this film are so out there that you almost want to see an alternate version of the film where Knoxville has to talk off the cops that are clearly called on his activities or neglect of his supposed grandchild.
This is technically a spinoff of Knoxville’s Jackass series, if I’m not mistaken. Jackass did have a bad grandpa skit that they did now and then, and as far as spinoffs go, I think this was a decent one. Jackass and Bad Grandpa are two very different forms of reality shows, but they both are based on, well, insanity. You can at least call it creative, if nothing else.
Giving Bad Grandpa actual plot and not using repetitive humor definitely helped the film be as funny as it set out to be. Also, who can’t regain their hope in humanity after seeing the biker gang Guardians of the Children? That was pretty cool, you have to admit.
This isn’t your typical movie, guys. Most of you won’t even be able to stand it because it has a limited target audience. But if you are one of the few that are part of the target audience, you will love it.
Billy: What’s your stripper’s stage name?
Adult bookstore clerk: Do I look like a stripper?
Billy: I’ll just call you Cinnamon.