Movie Review: “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” lacks story but engages audiences

Vincent Schultz, Assistant A&E Editor

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For 13 years, one group has been responsible for bringing millions of people joy through violent and revolting acts. Led by creators Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and Jeff Tremaine, what began as a short-lived reality television show became a trilogy of box office successes.

The “Jackass” series and films were based upon unscripted, hidden camera pranks; but for the first time ever, Johnny Knoxville, series front man, stars in a scripted story with unsuspecting bystanders.

Running at 92 minutes, the R-rated comedy “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” stars Johnny Knoxville and newcomer Jackson Nicoll in the story of 86-year old Irving Zisman, who is forced to take care of his 8 year-old grandson, Billy, and return him to his real father.

As the two characters navigate from Nebraska to North Carolina, Zisman (Knoxville) and Billy (Nicoll) make stop after stop, involving them in a number of antics with unsuspecting victims.

One of few recurring characters in the “Jackass” universe, Irving Zisman has been featured in all of the previous films, if only for a few minutes. Taking such a minor character and creating an entire film isn’t a terrible idea, but the film clearly lacks that same unlikely bond the original cast was able to achieve.

Another flaw is the poor plot. Rather than showing skit after skit like the original films, “Bad Grandpa” instead strings together each prank with banter between Irving and Billy to progress the story. It serves its purpose for story advancement, but beyond that, these scenes are pointless.

Looking past these problems however, “Bad Grandpa” still has enjoyable qualities. Knoxville is still able to deliver the same quality of raunchy absurdity seen in every “Jackass” film to date. The awkward, often sexual humor throughout the movie is enough to keep audiences engaged and laughing the entire time.

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” is not a great film. It’s not one of the year’s best, nor will it receive any sort of award recognition; that’s not its purpose. “Bad Grandpa” is, however, fun and amusing, proving to be a good time for audiences nationwide.

I’m giving “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” 2.5/5 kernels.

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