Sunday, February 9, 2014

2013 Award Circuit: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Review

2013 Award Circuit 

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 
The 2013 Awards Circuit will be a collection of reviews of films that are in some kind of award running within the months of January through March. Not only will this prepare me for the big night (AKA Oscar Night), but it will also allow me to catch up with some of the critically acclaimed films I missed in 2013. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy watching and writing them.

Well, I never once imagined a "Jackass" movie would ever come close to being considered for any type of major award during its annual circuit. "Bad Grandpa" is just another example of never saying never.

If you have ever seen "Jackass" on television, or their three feature films, then you have an idea of what to expect. "Jackass" is puts sane in insane when it pertains to reality television. One could argue that "Jackass" is simply a series of outtakes, and I don't think I could argue against that assessment. What makes "Jackass" so addicting and enjoyable is that its always funny. No matter how vulgar or raunchy the show or movies get, its always funny. What has become a staple on the show and the films has been Johnny Knoxville's "Grandpa" routines. Which have usually resulting in something disgusting. I expected this film to be full of gross-out humor. I never thought it wouldn't be funny, but when watching something "Jackass" related, you have to expect a few cringes.

I am surprised to report that a lot of the humor in this film was not gross. There are some penis jokes and some fart jokes, but that kind of humor is used sparingly. What makes "Bad Grandpa" clever and stand apart from the other "Jackass" movies is how it plays on the stereotypes of grumpy old people and perverted old people. I have to give Knoxville and his crew credit for giving us something quite different than any of his other "Jackass" material. In that difference, Knoxville and his crew cooked up a script that felt original but also felt torn from the "Jackass" cloth. The movie also had me rolling on the floor laughing all night long as well. 

What also surprised me about "Bad Grandpa" was that it had the most coherent story of all the "Jackass" movies thus far. When you look at the other "Jackass" movies, they are just random stunts and gross jokes. "Bad Grandpa" actually had a story in it. It revolved around Knoville's Grandpa character and how he gets put in charge of his grandson (Jackson Nicoll) while the grandson's mom is in jail. He has a week to get his grandson to his lazy, abusive birth father. At first, Grandpa doesn't cozy up to his grandson but after a week of mayhem, they learn to love and care for each other. Its not a revolutionizing story, but it at least helped the scenes connect in some fashion. I also have to give Knoxville mad props for pulling that off.

Now the real reason I am discussing this film is for its make-up effects. The make-up is the reason it got nominated by The Academy for the awards season this year. Yes, I am just as shocked as you are. Now, when I saw the previous "Jackass" films, I never really looked that closely to the make-up effects on Knoxville when he did the Grandpa skits. But in "Bad Grandpa" there are plenty of close-ups of Knoxville in full Grandpa mode. I have to say, the make-up art is truly astonishing and effective. Knoxville truly looked like an old man, and I never thought I'd say this about a "Jackass" movie, but Knoxville kind of disappears into the role. Totally deserved to be recognized by The Academy.

By now, you have made the personal decision yourself if you are going to see this movie or not. For "Jackass" fans, this is better than average and totally worth checking out. More than that, I'd recommend this to the non-casual viewer of "Jackass," people who just enjoying comedy of all types. This is the most cohesive "Jackass" movie to date, and that's pretty cool.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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