Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 10/25/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Strip the danger out of Borat and the injuries out of Jackass and you've got a bead on Bad Grandpa, a fitfully funny, semi-scripted Jackass outing built around elaborately staged pranks played on the unsuspecting.
Johnny Knoxville dons old-age makeup and becomes Irving Zisman, whom we meet at his wife's doctor's office.
"I thought she'd NEVER die."
Innocent bystanders give him a look.
At the funeral, a hired black church choir freaks out -- a bit -- at Irving's tasteless eulogy, and the mayhem with his crackhead daughter (Georgina Cates) that dumps the casket over in front of everybody.
A running gag in the movie: black people's nervousness around a corpse. Another running gag: Irving's racially tinged wisecracks to Hispanic store clerks, black cashiers and strip club fans and a fetching Asian woman his eight-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll) befriends somewhere around Nashville.
The crackhead daughter's dumped the kid on Grandpa. After a very public, Skype Internet cafe rant with the kid's no-good pothead dad (complete with bong hits) to rattle the patrons, we're off on a bad grandparenting trek from Nebraska to North Carolina, complete with flatulence gags, sagging body parts, bad driving and a demonstration of extreme shoplifting.
There are explosive laughs in these stunts -- grandpa sucker-punched by an airbag, hurled through a store window by a cheap kids' ride set up out front. Most of this stuff you've seen in the very funny TV ads.
And the kid (Nicoll was in Fun Size) is flat-out hilarious, a natural Jackass in training.
The scripted interludes aren't funny at all. The gags are more embarrassing than anything else. Take away that element of danger, that this irate restaurant or store owner may go off on Knoxville or that biker gang will flatten him, and Bad Grandpa loses some of that Borat appeal. Limit the stunts to a few rubberized genital gags and you lose a lot of that Oh-no-they-DIDN'T! Jackass appeal.
But a male stripper revue goes terribly wrong and a couple of tumbles involving transporting Granny's corpse (portrayed by... Spike Jonze?) raise a funny eyebrow. And there's big finish.
As Jackass japes go, though, Bad Grandpa was better in concept and in its short, punchy TV commercials than it is as a feature.
-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2013 D5
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Filmmaker Michael Moore's divorce is finalized
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego
Spike Lee helps a film student face his past
Thank Rob Reiner for world's best diner-orgasm performance
Review: Allen casts a limp spell in 'Magic'
Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup
Rob Reiner helped Meg Ryan with orgasm scene
Dafoe on Hoffman's 'tragic' death, final role
Working late in life, directors refuse to say cut
'X-Men' VR experience coming to Comic-Con
Reese Witherspoon films to debut at TIFF
Gimli Film Festival is a cinephile’s Emerald City
Box office top 20: 'Apes' holds reign with $36.3M
'The Proposal' short film headed to Comic-Con
Zach Braff on fatherhood in 'Wish I Was Here'
Terry Gilliam ponders the meaning of life
Charlie Hunnam talks about leaving 'Fifty Shades'
Court: Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund' kids
Zero Theorem comes soon to a theatre near you
'Apes' outmuscles 'The Purge' at box office
Found-footage flick launched a sub-genre
Locally shot doc to be shown on CBC
Going ape over motion capture
'Corner Gas' stars pumped to see each other
Keri Latimer runs a musical household, drawing in husband and two kids
He's fighting fires, but movie's not so hot
Elaine Stritch, brash stage legend, dies at 89
Universal distances itself from 'Compton' casting
Should a sex romp really make you want to press 'fast forward'?
Murder, mayhem, preaching... and an utter bore
Allman movie: Filmmakers speak out on train crash
Fincher's 'Gone Girl' to open New York Film Fest
The curse of the shrinking attendance
New on DVD / VOD
Review: 'Sex Tape' an X-rated tale with a PG plot
Rock vs. Chris Christie ends with (video) takedown
Poll asks how many Canadians access U.S. Netflix