You know you shouldn’t be laughing but you just can’t help it - this is the theme of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.
The latest offering from the Jackass team has a loose plot that sees lecherous and widowed Grandpa, Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville), burdened with his Grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll), whose mother is going to jail.
Hoping to reunite the boy with his layabout father, Zisman embarks on a road trip across America. Enter shameless pranks, mad stunts and hidden cameras. As Billy talks openly to a full - and stunned - waiting room about his mum’s drug induced bad breath, the film’s gutsy, fly on the wall style rushes in.
Packed with pranks that rarely last more than a few minutes, the film’s crude school boy humour is frequently funny - often revolting - but the comedy essentially comes from the reactions of ordinary people caught up in Bad Grandpa’s stunts. From a choir involved in a funeral service that goes badly awry when the corpse is knocked out of the coffin, to the removal men Zisman calls in to move his dead wife, the reactions of the public are the lifeblood of Bad Grandpa.
Despite its onslaught of original and hilarious pranks, Bad Grandpa frequently returns to Zisman’s outrageous attempts to hit on young female passersby. Initially funny this same gag eventually tires, while Billy’s repeated attempts to find a suitable father figure never do. As Billy, Jackson Nicoll is Bad Grandpa’s real star. With improvisation to upstage the youth of Outnumbered, Nicoll brings enough warmth to his character to give this Jackass offering a heart.
Of course, the film’s continual need to set up pranks leads to some inevitable inconsistencies of character but this isn’t really the point of Bad Grandpa. While a few pranks fall short of their potential - including an altercation with biker gang, Guardians Of Children, at the film’s climax - these are outweighed by the movie’s more subversive gags. Billy’s participation in the Carolina Cutie Pie pageant marks the pinnacle of the movie’s comedy as shocked mothers shield their daughter’s eyes from Billy’s suggestive performance.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is laugh out loud funny giving us a fresh spin on the road trip movie. With enough plot to hold its gags together, Jackass Presents: Grandpa is a must see for prank movie fans and a solid autumn comedy.
Running Time: 92 minutes