A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Firstly, this movie exposes (or seemingly exposes) an 8-year-old boy to all kinds of strong language, sex talk and sexual innuendo, stereotyping, alcohol, robbery, dead bodies, and all around bad behavior. But on the other hand, the grandpa and boy eventually do form a real family bond, and even though they continue their negative behavior to some extent at the end, they seem to have formed a strong unit.
Positive Role Models
The grandpa's behavior is constantly inappropriate with no consequences, and he exposes the little boy to all of it. Even though the grandpa and the boy love each other, you can't help thinking that the boy could do better.
Violence & Scariness
This movie has less than the usual amount of dangerous "Jackass"-type stunts, though there are a few, such as when grandpa tries to fix a kiddie ride and finds himself catapulted through a store window. There's also some arguing and fighting, and some angry bystanders who don't know that they're being fooled. In one scene, a barroom full of "Hell's Angel"-types look about ready to beat up one of the actors. Grandpa's wife dies in the first scene, and her "corpse" (played by Spike Jonze) is carried around, dropped, stuffed in a trunk, and thrown off a bridge.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The movie shows Grandpa's fake, rubber penis stuck in a vending machine (it stretches as he tries to pull it out), as well as some fake, rubber testicles that hang down from beneath his tighty-whity underpants. A fake fish with human genitalia is shown. During the end credits, grandpa shows his rear from a car window. One scene takes place in a strip bar, with suggestive male dancers, but no nudity is shown. Mostly, the movie is filled with constant innuendo as grandpa tries (and fails) to pick up women. He uses all kinds of highly vulgar terms, pick-up lines, and stories. Many of these appear to be spoken in front of his eight year-old co-star. The characters also read magazines with ads and photos that feature strong sexual innuendo.
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Language isn't as constant as you might imagine, but it does include lots of uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "poontang," as well as one or two uses of "p---y," "dick," the "N" word, "c--k," "suck it," "prick," "God," "Jesus," "damn," "schmeckle," "cooter," "Jesus Christ," "camel toe," "jerkoff," "ass," "piss," and "a--hole." The middle finger gesture is used. The words "douche" and "faggot" are spelled out (the latter spelled wrong on purpose). The 8-year-old co-star says some of these words himself.
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Products & Purchases
Most product names appear to be shown by accident. A Pepsi can is prominent in a couple of shots during a bingo game. One scene takes place in a convenience store, where many brand names are visible on the shelves.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In one scene, grandpa drinks a six-pack of beer with the boy (trying to get a rise out of passersby). The boy spits out the beer but appears to drink more. At one point, he says, "Grandpa, I'm f--king wasted." In a few other scenes, grandpa is shown drinking, and drunk; his beverages include beer and margaritas. In an early scene, the boy's biological father is shown smoking a bong during a Skype chat.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's interesting the way the filmmakers took several hidden camera-style pranks and stunts and incorporated them into the loose framework of a fairly entertaining 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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.