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Movie Reviews

Jackass: Bad Grandpa





Released: 23rd October 2013

Directed By: Jeff Tremaine

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

With their outrageous stunts and crude humour scarring an often dumbfounded public, it was perhaps inevitable that the ‘colourful’ world of ‘Jackass’ would eventually escape the modest confines of MTV and be unleashed onto cinemas everywhere. Already making inspired comic use of the 3D format back in 2010, leader of the gang Johnny Knoxville reprises an outlandish role introduced during the original run of the show, with the addition of a rambunctious, young new recruit.

Marking a slight departure for the series, ‘Bad Grandpa’ lays more emphasis on (albeit loose) narrative without diluting the crucial ingredient that has left many an audience with little control over their own bodily fluids. Buoyant by the impending freedom from his marriage, Eighty-six year old Irving Zisman (Knoxville) is dealing with the grief of losing his wife in unorthodox fashion, whilst bearing the brunt of the drug-fuelled antics of his troublesome daughter Kimmy (Georgina Cates).

Facing another term in prison, Irving is reluctantly saddled with the responsibility of looking after her mischievous eight year old son Billy (Jackson Nicoll). Despite being weary of the equally bad influence Billy’s lazy father (Greg Harris) has proven to be, Irving agrees to make the lengthy trip across America to deliver Billy personally to him. Bringing new and arguably inappropriate meaning to ‘coming of age’ along the way to North Carolina, the duo respectively experience the bizarre worlds of strip clubs, beauty pageants and the seemingly harmless game of bingo.

In tweaking the formula to tap into more a conventional type of filmmaking, fans could be forgiven in thinking that the Jackass gang have finally been tamed by Hollywood. On the judgement of ‘Bad Grandpa’, there remains great mileage in their elaborate antics and little sign of Knoxville and company maturing anytime soon. Planting hidden cameras aplenty to capture the priceless reactions of its oblivious victims, the film delivers raucous moments of side-splitting hilarity with just enough variation on the slapstick approach to garner the laughs consistently.

With a sex drive defying his generous age and the prosthetics, Knoxville is thoroughly convincing as the playful Irving whom continues to be uncomfortably efficient at ‘pushing the buttons’ and provoke a reaction from the public. Striking up a terrific camaraderie with his youthful co-star, Jackson Nicoll’s performance as Billy is one of sheer fearlessness and impeccable comic timing, as he admirably navigates his way through the often ridiculous set-pieces.

Its last ditch attempts at injecting sweetness to the unashamedly lewd narrative core may prove misguided and as always with the format, it’s a little stretched even at 90 minutes. However, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ rarely fails to tickle the funny bone. A frequently hilarious, shock-filled crowd pleaser.

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