Ever wonder what tricks Johnny Knoxville would be up to in his 80's? Well, now you don’t have to wait.
Knoxville takes a road trip through the South dressed up as an old man (named "Irving Zisman") who is taking his grandson, Billy, to his father after his mother is sent to jail. Together, the ‘grandpa-grandson’ duo find themselves in random and absurd situations that only someone from "Jackass" could find themselves.
It is shot almost like a documentary mixed with elements from a hidden-camera show. Only the camera crew, Knoxville and Billy (Jackson Nicoll) are aware of their façade as they trick average people throughout the South. Even though Billy is a central character, it does not dissuade Knoxville from committing some obscene acts in his midst. In fact, he practically recruits Billy as his wingman in his journey to find Irving some ‘tail.'
Knoxville plays a pretty convincing old man, leaning on the senile card when he finds himself in sticky situations with real people.
Nicoll appears to be the new generation of "Jackass" stars. Although people may choose to watch the film for Knoxville, they will be impressed by young Nicoll’s role, who outshines Knoxville in some cases. He takes such a subtle approach to his pranks; it feels like he is simply a naïve child asking questions that just happen to be outrageous, especially since his age allows him to ask rude questions without being met with anger or disgust.
However, this movie is less about pranks and more about getting the best reactions from people due to random but not always ridiculous scenarios. The film is fueled by the interactions with the common person who are unaware that they are in a movie, but it does not forget about forming a relationship between Billy and Irving.
Bad Grandpa follows the "Jackass" structure, with joke after joke with little to no connection to each other. For those who were not already "Jackass" fans, they might find the film a bit uncomfortable, especially with the more crude scenes or watching an 8-year-old curse and go in search of Irving at strip clubs. Some of the jokes seem forceful or uncomfortable. It is not as funny as it hopes to be, with some of the pranks falling flat. Many of the pranks were showcased in the trailer, removing the surprise from the film and leaving only chuckles.
The film does utilize the credits by showing the reactions of the common people when the producers reveal they were just tricked by Knoxville. In some ways that is more entertaining than the pranks, as you watch people's exaggerated reactions quickly transition from shock to laughter.
If you are looking for a film with "Jackass" remnants, Bad Grandpa acts as an entertaining hidden camera movie but does not reach the caliber of the previous Jackass films. However, it does have funny pranks to keep you entertained and amused.