Bad Grandpa

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (15)

The guilty joy of watching an outrageous octogenarian in cahoots with an equally extreme eight-year-old is not necessarily in what they get up to but via the reactions of the people around them.

For the Jackass team has combined one of the most inspired comedy double acts with the all-seeing eye of the hidden camera to present a manic road trip across America punctuated by outlandish adventures along the way.

The sex-obsessed grandfather of the title is Irving – actually Jackass regular Johnny Knoxville camouflaged beneath layers of prosthetics. His grandson Billy is played by Jackson Nicoll.

Together they embark on a journey to North Carolina. Ostensibly the trip is to reunite Billy with his deadbeat dad following news that the boy’s mother has broken her parole and is heading back to prison.

But en-route this oddball couple engages in the type of juvenile behaviour that most of us leave behind in the playground but with which Jackass has become synonymous as an American comedic institution.

There is a catastrophic funeral in which the corpse is tipped out of the coffin. Cue the wide-eyed horror of unsuspecting mourners and choir. Irving attempts to mail Billy to his destination. Cue the howls of appalled couriers: “We can’t ship a human!”

Irving brings chaos to a bingo hall as he drinks the ink from his marker pen, rustles up some margheritas and attempts sleazy seduction of the women around him.

And at a kids’ beauty pageant with a $5,000 prize Billy impersonates a girl but blows the illusion when bad grandpa encourages him to perform a pole dance. This one has to be seen to be believed. The shock waves that shudder through the watching parents can be felt in the cinema.

This is bad taste comedy lifted to a high standard. It is also deeply observational in nature, focusing on the reactions of real people as they struggle to comprehend how an elderly man can shatter so many of our accepted societal mores.

Put simply this is a movie about what crude comics can get away with. And they do get away with it. No-one gets punched. No-one gets shot. But they come very close. Think Borat for the superannuated with a touch of South Park. That’s Bad Grandpa.

Star rating: ***

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