Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa' review: What a joke

* (out of four)

The funniest thing about “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” is that its old-man makeup job surpasses similar work in “legitimate” movies like “Cloud Atlas” and “J. Edgar.” In “Grandpa,” Johnny Knoxville looks passably like an 86-year-old man. How about that.

Otherwise, this moron-a-thon succeeds in being dumber than the occasionally inspired, frequently disgusting “Jackass” movies, which at their best allow viewers to test the abilities of the human body without actually risking their own. “Bad Grandpa” foolishly creates a thin plot in which sex-crazed Irving Zisman (Knoxville) drives his 8-year-old grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll), from Nebraska to North Carolina to reunite with the boy’s deadbeat father. This allows opportunities for the fictional characters to act like stupid jerks so that real, unwitting people will look surprised and uneasy. It happens as Irving loads the body of his late wife into a trunk. It happens as grandpa introduces his penis to a soda machine with painful, stretchy results. It happens as super-white Irving goes to a strip club, attended exclusively by black women watching black men dance, and strips to his tighty-whiteys.

What never happens is “Bad Grandpa” capturing any moments that shed light on the people being pranked, a la “Borat.” Instead, “Bad Grandpa” lazily follows the standard of “Bad Santa” and “Bad Teacher” by considering how an ordinary, appropriate person would act and then having the character do the opposite. Since this is a “Jackass” production, you can pretty much cue the farts.

Those laughing because I said “fart” will delight in this weekend’s arrival of the unofficial, straight-to-DVD sequel “Bad Grandpa 1.5,” weirdly featuring Catherine Keener and co-writer Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”). I’ll pass on that after “Bad Grandpa,” in which Irving smells a papaya ad because it looks like female anatomy and says, “My Spanish name is El Macho Ding Dong.” Though that’s not as unpleasant as seeing the troublemaker crash a wedding and destroy the cake.

If it’s wrong to feel for people whose wedding day becomes the victim of a pointless stunt, I don’t want to be right. 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading