Jackass will always have a special place in my heart. Something about the antics of a bunch of skater/slackers just fooling around will always fill some of my fondest teenage memories. Often employing some genuine skill behind their foolishness, they pushed the envelope without being pointless, and was one of the genuinely good eras of early Reality-Mtv. Bad Grandpa carries some of the essence of that time, but as it is essentially one sketch dragged out to 90 minutes, it doesn’t really have much lasting appeal.
Bad Grandpa is essentially a lot of sketches tied together by a loose plot. The plot itself is almost superfluous, and sometimes detracts from us knowing what is a prank and what is scripted. Knoxville, in some remarkably good prosthetics and makeup, it must be said, plays Irving Zisman, an ornery old man who is transporting his grandson Billy ( Nicolls, performing very well) across country to his father. Most of the comedy is then generated from placing these two characters in controlled environments with unsuspecting locals, and seeing what happens.
The main problem with Bad Grandpa is that it just isn’t very laugh out loud funny. Some of the scenarios are funny, yes, but they don’t really lead anywhere, and meander around until the next one starts. Knoxville is a good actor for this sort of role, but Borat did the same sort of thing in 2006, and did it still much better than this. It also suffers from the best moments in the movie being played incessantly in every trailer for the film leading up to its release, making them in turn not very fresh anymore.
Bad Grandpa, if the outtakes are anything to go by, looks like it was enormously funny to make, and I can believe that. However, when its polished up, it’s somewhat less funny to watch. Not bad, just a little boring.