Everyone's foul-mouthed, female-crazed grandpa is back. Johnny Knoxville's most endearing character, Irving Zisman makes his return to the silver screen. This time around he is joined by his deadpan grandson Billy. Unlike previous Jackass films, Bad Grandpa follows a general story arc, with Zisman "shipping" his grandson (Jackson Nicoll) cross country to live with his father. As expected, their road trip goes awry, and as a result, comedic hijinxs ensue. At first, I was taken aback by Knoxville as he portrays a character in a structured, plot-driven film, but like fine aged wine, the story and characters gets better with time, and I actually start to believe Knoxville as Zisman, with an actual grandson.
Like the previous Jackass films, the general public is not in on the joke, and the reactions caught on camera are sometimes funnier than the actual prank. The film works well because behind the crude potty humor, there is a very dysfunctional, yet charming relationship that forms between a grandpa and his grandson. The duo bond over one absurd situation after the next, which include encounters with numerous bystanders, sympathetic bikers, clueless restaurant patrons and sassy child beauty pageant contestants.
Knoxville shines here, with only a few instances where he seems out of character. I expect an unrated version of the film and hope it includes the underutilized Grandma Zisman played by director turned actor Spike Jonze. One can only hope they incorporate a Weekend At Bernie's-esque scene; the possibilities are endless! Fans of the Jackass series will rejoice and enjoy this immensely, while others may feel like this is recycled material and the series has run its course. All in all, I enjoyed this movie for what it is "“ an exercise in humility "“ and no one does it better than Knoxville and company.