Jackass well and truly has returned to the big screen with their latest exploits, Bad Grandpa. The World famous TV Series which made its name through the blend of scripted pranks, slapstick comedy and generally documenting a group of young friends acting ludicrously in public certainly doesn’t disappoint in its latest venture.
Specifically following the Jackass character who blurs and transgresses moral boundaries, Bad Grandpa follows its elderly protagonist who, seeing the death of his wife as a sign of liberation, is forced by his Daughter, who is awaiting her prison date to take her 8 year old son across America to live with the Boy’s estranged Father. This road trip defines the plot line of the Film and is interspersed at frequent junctions with the usual Jackass tricks, stunts and folly.
Both these coordinated stunts and scripted pranks provide good comedic moments and acknowledging the importance of timing in enriching the comedic effect. Despite being guilty in few instances of rather predictable and repeating stunts from the long running TV series, there are some truly surprisingly brilliant moments.
…it is still obvious that it is Johnny Knoxville underneath the façade…
What is different and interesting about this Jackass presentation is that is unlike the previous films in the franchise in that it is definitely centred round this road trip plot across the United States. Following on from this despite in the TV series and whenever he has to don the disguise and become one of his characters, it is still obvious that it is Johnny Knoxville underneath the façade; however Knoxville uses his acting ability more than he ever has in Jackass to portray the elderly Irving Zisman. What we see on the surface as an expansion of the slapstick, self-abusing Jackass series, is revealed to actually hold a heart-warming tale of this unorthodox and estranged family unit, if you can separate this from the obscene, shocking behaviour from both young and old protagonists that is.
If there is a disappointing factor which must be mentioned in relation to Bad Grandpa, it must be the effect which Jackass and other hidden camera shows has had on the current generation. Although there is no greater substitute for the genuine bemusement shock and confusion of the members of the public which is attributed to the success of the Jackass franchise over the years, it does feel that the saturation of the hidden camera prank setup has stifled the effect on the public especially in this Film. There is few examples where those being pranked look like they are genuinely invested in the make-up laden Johnny Knoxville as they ignore him simply or just search for the hidden camera, which naturally does not stir the humour ultimately. Could Jackass be seen as a victim of their own success therefore?
…this film has moments of brilliant timing and shocking moments…
Ultimately, Jackass presents Bad Grandpa is not side splittingly funny and is guilty of possibly relying on one or two repeated gags and stunts, however this film has moments of brilliant timing and shocking moments which the audience will seriously not predict, and for these moments alone it is worth paying the cinema fee for a ticket. It is great to see that Jackass can still thrill, amuse, disgust and entertain a recoiling audience, and leave them wanting more.