Craig's First Take: "Bad Grandpa"

Photo Credit: Photo by Photo credit: Sean Cliver – © MMXIII Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

It took a couple of films but Jackass looks to finally just be throwing up its hands and saying “screw it, let’s just be assholes instead.”Well I shouldn’t say all of Jackass, Steve-O, Bam, and some of the other stooges must have decided to go for more promising ventures (like stapling their balls to a ceiling fan and having it whirl around) but not Knoxville. He’s still got the acting bug and the mind of an anarchic child, but without the stunts to anticipate, you’d be surprised how painful he can be.

He plays his 86 year old grandpa character Irving Zisman (the make-up on him actually looks good), a degenerate jerk who celebrates the death of his wife, drags her body around in the trunk of his car, and for some reason feels the need to take down his pants to hump a vending machine, only to get his penis stuck in the very same machine (wow!). He has an obnoxious grandson named Billy (Jackson Nicoll) who goes around telling people his moms a crackhead while trying to get random others to adopt him.

Zisman and Billy take a road trip, that feels like it lasts forever, where trying to irritate real life people is the first order of business. They ruin a persons wedding, split some beers with each other, stop women on the street to ask for a blow-job. In their down-time, Zisman drops his pants to expose some prosthetic cock and balls (but a joke regarding a flashback fishing trip reveals the worst desperation) and grandpa and grandson bond over explosive flatulence.

Knoxville tries for shock value but really, who’s shocked when filmmakers try to appeal to the lowest common denominator anymore? And the punchline's of all this don't work nearly as well as when Sacha Baron Cohen tries them; clever jabs at deserving targets or situations so nerve-wracking they're funny never materialize here. The gags result in shouting matches or dupes just trying to politely walk away or people who are more shocked because its unexpectedly innappropriate (we of course know whats coming). To me it all looked lazy, desperate, and tiresome. By the time the beauty pageant scene rolls around, I was so sick and tired of these characters that I didn't even care that this gag is actually really well done.

“Bad Grandpa” is the kind crap that proves Knoxville’s bag of tricks are limited and he may just be following in Tom Green’s footsteps. And if you’re asking yourself “who is Tom Green?”… Well, that’s exactly my point.