If you’re already a fan of the Jackass crew, then you’ll kind of know what’s coming. If you’re not familiar with their work, you’re in for a real treat. Either way, this film is like a remedy for any illness one may have. An unbelievable amount of humour, strong story and believable/vain characters is what Bad Grandpa is all about.
Unlike the Jackass films, which are filled with silly yet funny pranks, Bad Grandpa gets to explore what it’s like having a proper feature film. As the introduction, Irving Zisman, an 86 year old man, has just lost his wife. Laughing with joy and highlighting the fact that he’s free man sets his sights on being a bachelor once again. However, at the funeral of his “beloved” wife, his daughter turns up with his grandson Billy, pleading (more like pawning him off) for him to take Billy across the country to live with his father. Reluctantly, he agrees to do so. Can you smell disastrous road trip?
Although the film is based on pranks and getting that special reaction from those involved, the pranks aren’t as silly and meaningless as some of those in the previous Jackass films. Not saying they weren’t funny, but there’s just something about getting real life citizens in on it because their reaction will bring in 50% of the laughs, added onto the other 50% from the prank itself and Johnny Knoxville managed to get this spot on. From weddings and funerals, to strip clubs and pageants, one could never be safe. The word “hilarious” is honestly not a strong enough word to describe how funny Bad Grandpa really is.
One of the great things about the film is firstly Knoxville and his character Irving. The confidence and concentration he has is incredible. He just stays in character through out the pranks without cracking a smile and is great at improvising. It’s not like there’s a step by step script to follow at every instance. The character of Irving is a great laugh. He’s just a dirty old man looking for some tail at any chance he gets. He has his preferences too! But if all fails, he always has a plan B. The character development is also brilliant. Character development is something that needs to be there to help a film along and yet again, they got this right. We get to see the characters grow and the relationship between Billy and Irving get stronger.
A big applause has to go to Jackson Nicholl for the character of Billy. He brought so much humour and stole the show with certain scenes. He worked so well with Knoxville, and just bounces off all events with ease. He doesn’t come across like the usual dirty mouthed kid. He uses his cute-ness to make the ones getting pranked feel very uncomfortable, especially when he gets to go off on his own and do the pranking without his dirty old grandpa by his side. The biggest stunt he had was shown in the trailer where he pretends to be a girl and enters a beauty pageant. Directly pointing the finger at Little Miss Sunshine, it really was the icing on the cake to top everything off.
With laughs aside, there were a few moments where it kind of got a tiny bit serious and emotional, but then they would roll up with another prank to get you laughing again until you cough up a lung or something.
With a lovely touch at the end credits showing the publics reaction to being involved in the stunts and a little note dedicating the film to the late Ryan Dunn, Bad Grandpa doesn’t have one dull moment. It’s definitely the funniest film in a very, very long time.
5 out of 5 stars