The latest installment from the Jackass team, follows Johnny Knoxville’s 86-year-old alter ego Irving Zisman with 8-year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) as his comical companion. Yes people, grandpa and his famous swinging, elasticated scrotum are back!
The premise of the plot is a simple one: Billy’s addict mother is facing another stint in prison and Irving has been tasked with the job of delivering his grandson to his estranged, deadbeat father. Add to this Irving’s raging libido after his wife’s death and his desire for nookie far outweighing his need to mourn, Bad Grandpa reveals a rib-tickling formula that will make you laugh out loud.
The road trip narrative may be humble, but this unassuming backstory allows co-writers Jeff Tremaine (also director), Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze to flesh out and elaborate the nature of gags long expected and demanded from the Jackass crew; unashamedly pranking the unsuspecting public and capturing their flummoxed faces with hidden cameras. Ultimately, the basic narrative is a device that facilitates the havoc and foul play that will ensue on their cross-state journey.
The budding bond between Irving and Billy adds an extra spectacular dimension, using social preconceptions of the young and old alike. As anticipated, the scenes are splintered with shock tactics and pranks, but surprisingly peppered with heart-warming moments. At the outset, Irving perceives Billy as a burden to his new lust-fuelled life but this takes a backseat as an endearing rapport develops between the two.
While the film can be tame in parts, Knoxville shows from the opening scene that he is still willing to take his body to extremes for comical value. The humour throughout is wickedly crude, juvenile and enticing as any Jackass fan would expect, with infinite variations proving to be the height of hilarity.
Bad Grandpa comes complete with strip club shenanigans, a hijacking of a children’s beauty pageant, smashed windows, sexual acts with stationary objects and masses of toilet cracks (yeah, we went there). Make sure you linger as the credits roll for a bevy of outtakes and behind the scenes features.
The spin off from three successful Jackass films and dedicated to the memory of Ryan Dunn, Bad Grandpa marks a new direction for the Jackass team and proves that they are capable of more than just daring stunts.
Watch if you like: Borat, The Ringer and The Dictator.
Written by: Alannah Graham.