Bad Grandpa movie review

By Max Maier | Feb 07, 2014

Just as a heads up, this is from the Jackass brand name owned by MTV, I will be using the word Jackass several times, so if that offends you, I apologize, I just have to mention the brand name.

Whether you are a fan or not, everyone knows about the Jackass boys. Their insane and painful stunts, if anything, will certainly leave an impression on you. You will either find it funny, or incredibly stupid, but you will remember watching it. Jackass had released 3 movies previously, but these movies were just them taping their stunts for an hour and a half. These movies are funny for fans, but they never had anything near a story. So, the boys at Jackass have finally given us a movie with an actual "script." How does their first movie with actual plot go? Hilarity ensues.


Johnny Knoxville reprises his character, Irving Zisman, in a cross country movie that sees him having to transport his grandson, Billy from Lincoln, NE over to Raleigh, NC. Billy has to go to his deadbeat Dad because his Mom is going to jail again. So, Irving agrees to drive Billy the whole way, but is going to enjoy his life afterwards now that his wife has passed away (a little dark humor, yes, but it isn't that bad.) Along the way, a ton of wacky antics happen, embarrassing people everywhere. So, will Irving get Billy to Raleigh safely?

Now, since this is a comedy based on a character from a few caught on camera gags, Bad Grandpa can be forgiven for having a very bare-bones story. It's a very simple road trip formula, that stands out from the rest for the unique experience it delivers. We know the part about Irving driving Billy to Raleigh is acting, it's not in real life. But, theses outrageous stunts and gags they do are to real people in real life. It's this combination of fiction and reality that gives this movie a very interesting edge. The comedy is the typical stupid-grade nonsense and gross-out humor, but this splash of real life and fantasy is very cool and was unique for something like Bad Grandpa. That's right, Bad Grandpa was interesting. Let that soak in for a minute.

The humor, as I mentioned, is pretty typical Jackass fare: poop jokes, people getting hurt, and very shocking, uncomfortable moments. If you are a fan of the Jackass movies, the humor will have you rolling all over the flow. Now, if you do not like Jackass, this brand of comedy may not be for you. Now I do think there are a couple of really funny moments that anybody could appreciate. Now I say could, and that leads into my biggest complaint for the movie.


If you heavily watched the trailers and commercials for Bad Grandpa, you saw way too many of this movie's punchlines. Now I can't bash the movie itself for this problem, whereas the production company is to blame. This goes into a big problem with a lot of movies nowadays: spoiler territory. Trailers for these big movies spoil too much. People won't go see a movie in theatres because they feel they already saw everything in the trailers. Bad Grandpa is no exception. You don't see everything in the trailer, but it spoils some of the biggest laughs in this movie. I can think of one scene towards the end in particular, that if I didn't see it coming, I'd have died laughing. But it's this joke as well that is spoiled on the cover of the case for the movie. That's a really bad idea there. Think about it, a comedy is all about its punchlines, and Jackass fuels itself on the punchlines of their crazy scenarios. Why would you spoil the end to these jokes in the previews for the movie? I know you want to draw people in, but don't spoil the payoff! the same could be said for a lot of movies nowadays, and honestly, it can ruin a movie viewing experience for a lot of people. On the flip side of the coin, some movie's marketing is brilliant. With Frozen, you didn't even see the princesses till the trailers very close to the release, for almost half a year, it was just the silent film of Olaf and Sven. And the new Godzilla movie coming in May is handling it's marketing beautifully. Godzilla is the main draw, and we haven't fully and clearly seen him yet. It is this level of surprise and curiosity that will get people to see that movie. Whereas Bad Grandpa, if you watched the trailers and commercials a lot, you, unfortunately saw a lot of the movie's joke payoffs. And that feels like a ripoff. Like I said, that is not a bash against the movie itself, but a bash on its handlers, because they dampened the viewing experience for a lot of people.


The acting, is good considering what we are dealing with. There are only like 4 or 5 people in this movie who are actors, everybody else is real people reacting to the insanity in front of them. But without these people's reactions, there would be almost no energy for the movie, so these people play the most important role. Their reactions from Knoxville and the little kid are most of the comedy, and their reactions are hysterical most of the time. Then you can think, how would you react? Knoxville is very funny as Irving, as the crude, perverted and gross old man from the Jackass movies that fans love. The make-up work on him is also very impressive throughout. However, the little kid who plays Billy steals the show. To think what he went through, traveling the country with Johnny Knoxville, doing all these crazy stunts, and he can still act perfectly off Knoxville and on his own. Heck, he does a few gags by himself, and nails them perfectly! He even makes Knoxville genuinely laugh sometimes, almost cracking him out of character. Now I will say, no harm comes to the kid, he doesn't do any stunts that harm him in anyway, Knoxville was very careful not to put him in harm's way at any point. So, they were well acted to say the least.

Overall, I really enjoyed Bad Grandpa, but I would've enjoyed it more if I didn't know the punchlines going in. If I didn't know what was coming, this movie would've been even funnier. It is a shame, because Knoxville delivers a very funny premise, and delivers on everything he does here. The stuff he does is just mind-boggling on how he can do it. And whether you are a fan of Jackass or not, you can appreciate all that Knoxville goes through to entertain his fans. It can't be easy. If you want a good laugh, I'd give Bad Grandpa a try, it is worth it.

Overall, I give Bad Grandpa 3.5 broken chairs out of 5

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