If Johnny Knoxville dressed as an old man (Irving Zisman - a continuation the Jackass TV and movie franchise staple gag) showering dollar bills on to little guy Jackson Nicoll, playing his grandson Billy, dolled up to look like a pageant girl to Warrant's 'Cherry Pie' doesn't make you cackle then this movie just isn't for you.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is the Jackass team dabbling with a story for one of their characters. The flimsy narrative gauze connecting these sequential stunts and gags sees the newly widowed Irving (Knoxville) lumped with the responsibility of getting his grandson Billy (Nicoll) across country to his father, after his daughter has been imprisoned. The huge writing collaboration from Fax Bahr, Spike Jonze, Knoxville, Adam Small and director Jeff Tremaine really just looks for situations where this incredibly inappropriate Grandfather and son relationship can shine.
Knoxville is at his antagonistic best as Irving this time around. Not only is he far more disgusting than usual, his time as the character has given him whip like reaction time. In a moment that he coerces some movers to move the body of his wife from their bed to the trunk of his car, he delivers the gem, "Thanks for your crime." The adult victims are even more affronted by his behaviour and must manage how they respond to him with little Billy (Nicoll) by his side. Nicoll is the breakout performer here. Its such a sophisticated and comedically adult performance from the little man, who must contain himself in the face of deplorable behaviour and surrounded by adults who are inherently unpredictable. Asking a buxom women out the front of a sex shop what her stripper name is; or asking random strangers if they'll be his dad in public places requires some real bravery.
Bad Grandpa is to Jackass what Borat is to Ali G. The gag is far less about Irving and his grandson; it's relishing in how they antagonise and perplex their unwilling support cast. It's juvenile, it's ridiculous but I laughed, a lot.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Directed by: Jeff Tremaine Written by: Fax Bahr (story), Spike Jonze (Story), Johnny Knoxville (screenplay/story), Adam Small (story), Jeff Tremaine (screenplay/story). Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.