If you’ve watched MTV anytime since the year 2000, phrases like “Jackass,” “Wild Boyz,” and the name Johnny Knoxville should send off flares in your head. I’m by no means an MTV fanatic any longer—we parted ways in my early youth—but the Jackass series and films were and still are hilariously insane and perversely fun to watch. A group of guys perform the most idiotic and dangerous stunts ever to be thought up. They do not care. This stunt can result in third-degree burns and stitches? LET’S DO THIS, BRO. Alas, the Jackass franchise had fallen silent—at least until they recently decided to present Bad Grandpa, starring (almost) everyone’s favorite Jackass, Johnny Knoxville.
In Bad Grandpa, we move away from “Will this be dangerous?” territory to “Will this be offensively shocking enough to unsuspecting bystanders?” When the skits and stunts are meant to be brash, exploitative, and sexually discomforting, believe me, the unsuspecting bystanders are as shocked as we are. Bad Grandpa gets its stunts right and all the sidesplitting laughs for them as well. However, the film fails miserably when attempting to incorporate a cringe-worthy plot. To be clear, this film is half scripted-comedy, half documentarian-comedy. Our bad grandpa, 86-year-old Irving (or as we all know, Knoxville in costume) has to take care of his grandson, Billy, after his mother’s drug arrest. Grandpa is forced to babysit Billy, unsurprisingly doing a bad job at it, and the two go on an escapade of vulgar, raunchy, and absolutely hilarious “errands.” Their shenanigans all over town are viewed by real-life people, filled with disgusted reactions and angry
outbursts. It makes for great entertainment.
Johnny Knoxville is fantastic in this role, and that alone is largely why Bad Grandpa works. He rarely breaks character, and when he does, his improvisations are hilarious. However, there is a point in the film where we simply no longer care for the film’s meaningless attempt at a plot. Its humor begins to feel repetitive—the sexual innuendos and profanities seem endless and lose their shock value. This is when Bad Grandpa starts to feel as old as Knoxville looks. Don’t go into Bad Grandpa expecting a life-changing experience (not that you needed me to tell you that). Go into the film expecting mindless, improper hilarity. Warning: You may laugh till you puke. You may be disgusted till you puke. Watch at your own risk.