Viau’s View/Scott Viau
There’s something cringe-worthy about watching people tricked into believing a situation they’re in is real when it’s not – “Borat” and “Bruno” have done this almost flawlessly. The latest film from the makers of “Jackass,” “Bad Grandpa,” also takes this route, but instead of being cringe-worthy, it actually results in uproarious laughter with a little bit of heart.
The plot of “Bad Grandpa” is as thin as a strand of hair: Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) is an 86-year-old man whose wife just passed away, much to his delight. During the funeral, he learns that he must take his 8-year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) to his father in North Carolina. Along the way, they make a few stops and upset quite a few people.
I was never a fan of the “Jackass” movies or television show. It’s not like I’m some prude with high-brow interests, it just never really caught my attention. But when the trailers for “Bad Grandpa” showed up, I couldn’t help but be amused and the movie did not disappoint.
Knoxville has always been fearless, whether by performing his death-defying stunts or taking a role in a John Waters film, but his costar Nicoll proves to be the true daredevil here. Based on his facial expressions alone, it seems clear that he was not always in on what would happen, but getting him to interact with strangers the way he does all while maintaining a (relatively) straight face is nothing short of amazing.
And the pranks they pull will have most people rolling in the aisles. At the beginning of the movie, when Irving finds out that his wife has died, he reacts with great relief and the woman sitting next to him can’t seem to believe what she’s hearing, despite Irving explaining to her why he’s so happy. Another scene involves Irving and Billy shoplifting some items from a local market.
Irving is also the kind of octogenarian who mainly has one thing on his mind: meeting a woman for some afternoon delight and his attempts to get with woman much younger than him are actually surprising when it looks like some are genuinely interested in him.
The only aspect of the movie that’s a little disappointing is that most of the funnier scenes are shown in all the trailers. That doesn’t mean there still aren’t new laughs to be had, but there are also going to be some repeats.
“Bad Grandpa,” for better or worse, is bound to provide plenty of laughs for open-minded moviegoers.