James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Thirteen years ago a group of young men performed grotesque, humiliating and painful stunts for the sake of a laugh. After twenty-two episodes, countless specials and a few movies it’s nice to see that the creators (Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine) haven’t changed the formula.
These jokesters now bring us Bad Grandpa, which is based off a character from their TV show Jackass. Through hidden cameras, the viewer gets to witness the shocked reactions of real life people who just so happen to be near old Irving. Bad Grandpa follows Jackass alum Johnny Knoxville’s character Irving Zisman as he performs scene after scene of cringe worthy moments in front of the unaware public.
Aside from his distinct voice, Knoxville’s almost unrecognizable under those layers of make-up. This film is slightly different from the previous Jackass editions, this one is going for the mockumentary approach (very similar to Borat) in that Knoxville is constantly in character throughout the film that plays like a big inside joke. Recently widowed Irving has to travel across the country with his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) in order to deliver Billy to his dead beat father. Like any road trip movie, the pair constantly get sidetracked and get themselves involved in horrible situation after another.
However, because the audience is in on the joke with Knoxville it makes the ride all the more funny. Knoxville carries the film with his fast improv and his inappropriate charm, working very well with anyone he comes in contact with. Had this been a film with hired extras it would never have been as good. The wide eyed staring and the dropping jaws are what make the jokes all the more humorous. The film has an endless supply of gross out humor and outrageous scenarios.
The problem is with so many of them there’s bound to be a few that fell flat and weren’t funny every once in a while. Some reactions just weren’t what you were hoping for, that could have just elevated the scene to the next level of comedy. Even with those few scenes that fall short, the ones that do hit the mark really nail it.
At it’s best it was hilarious, it brought back the shameful humor that made Jackass such a hit. Johnny Knoxville is always on his toes while in character and bounces off the publics responses very nicely. What’s amazing is that after thirteen years of doing these gags, you would think that the joke would get old and played out. Despite the fact that you know the punch line to some of these scenes they still remain funny and fresh.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is in theaters now.