suntimes
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’: Definitely gross, but you’ll laugh

‘JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA’ ★★1⁄2

Irving Johnny Knoxville

Billy Jackson Niccol

Paramount Pictures and MTV Films present a film directed by Johnny Tremaine and written by Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonez. Running time: 93 minutes. Rated R (for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use). Opens Friday at local theaters.

Johnny Knoxville loves looking for 'that perfect mark'

Updated: November 26, 2013 6:10AM



A “Jackass”-produced movie appeals to a very specific audience — undoubtedly a large one, but certainly a crowd of folks who find the raw, often crude humor created by Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of mischief-makers funny and entertaining.

And … that’s OK.

In fact, I found myself laughing very hard at a lot of the jokes, stunts, shtick and ridiculous nonsense that is on screen for much of “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”

But for my concern that by being too positive I’d be encouraging a rash of copycat stunts, I likely would have added another half-star here.

However, unlike Knoxville’s earlier, clearly life-endangering stunts in other “Jackass” projects, the things we see in “Bad Grandpa” generally are far less dangerous. One exception would be a bit where Knoxville’s 86-year-old Irving Zisman character attempts — to put it delicately — an intimate moment with the coin slot in a vending machine.

But I digress.

A virtually unreconizable Knoxville plays the octogenarian Zisman, a raunchy old guy who is forced to take a cross-country trip with his 8-year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) to deliver him to the kid’s loser dad.

As is a Knoxville-“Jackass” trademark, the filming here is totally dependent on hidden cameras to capture “Gotcha!” moments as unwitting individuals and groups of people are drawn into a series of bizarre but often hilarious situations.

While many parents would be horrified if their 8-year-old was exposed to Knoxville’s antics, it’s hard not to be amused by the setups created in “Bad Grandpa.”

There’s Irving hitting on (as well as dancing for) a group of clearly amused women in an African-American version of a Chippendale’s male strip club. Then there’s the staged family fight at a funeral — complete with the body falling out of the coffin before being thrown into Irving’s aged car’s trunk.

It’s “Punk’d” taken to the most extreme, R-rated, Nth degree.

My favorite scene, however, is when Irving dresses up Billy as a girl to compete, quite convincingly, in a pre-tween pageant. The kid’s segue — from an innocent “Good Ship Lollipop” dance number to something far more adult to the tune of “Cherry Pie” — is truly a sight to behold.

“Bad Grandpa” obviously is not for everyone, but Johnny Knoxville and “Jackass” fans will eat it up.

For the rest of you? Uh … no.

Email: bzwecker@suntimes.com

Twitter: @billzwecker



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.