Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Preston Lacy, Raab Himself, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Steve O: These men have all been a staple in my life for over a decade. Since Jackass premiered on MTV, my teenage self became enthralled by the group of misfits whose shenanigans prompted tear laced laughs and gags. My kinship of schadenfreude, practical jokes, and being weened on shows from the Ren and Stimpy generation are all attributed to my enticement at juvenile, male dominated stooge humor of the Jackass gang. I admittedly despise their more tasteless gross out forms of humor, however. My devotion lies in their practical jokes and moments of just beating the hell out of each other. Bad Grandpa, although completely absent of the Jackass gang, is truer to their earlier humor of freaking people out and pissing them off. Oh and of course a couple of penis and ball pranks and poop jokes for good measure.
This movie is perfect, for me to poop on!
Bad Grandpa follows a geriatrically dressed Knoxville as the character Irvin. Irvin’s wife just died to his surprise leaving him free to roam the world looking for some long sought after beloved poontang. Unfortunately, for him, his drug addicted daughter has violated parole and is on her way to jail leaving her 8-year-old son Billy alone. Although unable and unwilling to take care of his grandson, Irvin is trapped with the responsibility of driving him to Raleigh, North Carolina to live with his absent deadbeat dad who only wants him for the possibility of a government check. As Irvin and Billy’s road trip begins, so do the pranks, hijinks, and bad parenting skills.
Bad Grandpa is quiet an impressive narrative from Knoxville and his partners. The linear story we follow is actually heartbreaking at times while delivering tear-jearker moments and character redemption throughout. Whether the moments are affective or not is up to you, but the effort is present and passable. Knoxville is hilarious during his moments of provoking others and his natural pesky qualities bring out great moments from innocent bystanders. Jackson Nichols as Billy proves he can hold his own alongside Knoxville giving the film a Big Daddy meets Little Miss Sunshine feel.
However, because the film just follows Billy and Irving and because all the jokes don’t trump each other, some parts of Bad Grandpa fall flat. Funny moments at times are restricted by the inserts of sub par plot development, while interesting plot moments are at times diluted by random jokes. When the pranks are funny, they’re hilarious, but not all pack the same punch leaving good moments of the film flighty and tedious.
Son, a wise man once said “picture me rollin'” and here I am today.
Although Knoxville created Irvin nothing about Bad Grandpa is new. Irvin is the stereotypical pervert grandpa made famous by every cheesy porn and the story ends exactly like you expect it to. In fact, some of the pranks end predictably too, like when Irvin and Billy make a detour into a wedding reception for some free food and drinks. Knoxville in a room with a large wedding cake on a table covered with stacked glasses of champagne ends in the most typical way possible. Although it made me giggle, it was too easy.
Bad Grandpa isn’t anything fresh or exciting, however, it is familiar and affective. It’s Knoxville doing what he does best, professional trolling, and it pretty entertaining to watch. Bad Grandpa doesn’t have a purpose or introspective meaning to convey like say Borat did, which is both a good and bad quality. On one hand, the lack of reflective thought allows for unabashed screwing with people. Yet, on the other, it’s lazy because it’s not looking to explore a social construct or how people as a whole react to moments against the norm. Regardless, if seeing an old man get his johnson stuck in a soda machine or get cursed out for stealing tickles your fancy, then watch Bad Grandpa and prepare from some lolz.
Take a drink: Every time you see a pair of testicles
Take a drink: Every time you see a penis.
Take a drink: whenever Irvin is threatened with physical harm.
Take a drink: whenever fishing is brought up.
Take a drink: whenever an onlooker announces they’re going to call the cops.