Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bad Grandpa is the latest comedy from Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew. Rather than unrelated stunts, this one has a loose story and characters upon which to hang its hidden-camera pranks. The overall tone is lighter, less offensive and with more heart, although parents should keep in mind that the level of vulgarity and sexual innuendo is still very high. There are a few "stunts," some arguing and fighting, and an old lady's supposed corpse that's dragged around throughout the movie. There are some sensitive, albeit fake rubber body parts shown and very strong, constant sexual innuendo (grandpa is forever trying and failing to pick up women). Language is strong and varied, but not constant; it includes "s--t," "f--k," and "p---y," as well as most other words. The eight year-old actor says some of these words and drinks beer in one scene ("Grandpa, I'm f--king wasted..."). Grandpa is shown drinking, and drunk, fairly often.
What's the story?
The 86-year-old Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) has just become a widower and is very happy to be free. His grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) seems to be a nice kid who loves fishing. When Billy's mom is sent to prison for drugs, grandpa agrees to drive Billy from Nebraska to live with Billy's no-good, pot-smoking dad in North Carolina. While on their drive, grandpa and Billy get into all kinds of mischief, from creating disturbances in bingo parlors or convenience stores to running over plaster penguins. Billy often must find his grandpa after his drunken misadventures. Eventually they even enter a disguised Billy in a child beauty pageant. After their time together, grandpa realizes how much he loves Billy and decides to keep him.
Is it any good?
It's interesting the way that actor/co-writer Johnny Knoxville, co-writer Spike Jonze, and director Jeff Tremaine have taken several hidden camera-style pranks and stunts and incorporated them into the loose framework of a road movie. The pranks are far from seamless, and it's often easy to guess how they were done. And for the first half of the movie, the humor relies mostly on the shock of seeing an old man (Knoxville in makeup) and a child (Jackson Nicoll) involved in such rude behavior.
But after a time, the characters start to bond with one another and form a genuinely likeable team. There are even some tears at the climax when they initially part. And while most of the jokes are just throwaways based on sex or alcohol, the movie saves its biggest inspiration for the climax: the child beauty show. It reveals and then destroys the fine line between Billy's stripper-like dance and the quasi-sexualized children at these creepy pageants. It's a bit of Borat-worthy satire.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about the appeal of practical jokes. Why is it funny to watch others being fooled? Do any of these jokes cross the line? How?
- What is funny about an old man and a young boy doing all these bad things?
- This movie doesn't have the usual "Jackass" disclaimer about not trying these stunts at home. Do you suppose these jokes, pranks, and stunts are safer to try?
- Why isn't it a good idea for children to drink alcohol? Why is this moment in the movie so shocking (to us and to passersby)?
What kinds of stereotypes does the movie use as jokes?
|Theatrical release date:||October 25, 2013|
|DVD release date:||January 28, 2014|
|Cast:||Jackson Nicoll, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze|
|Run time:||92 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use|