“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” finally hits theaters Friday (October 24), so what did critics think about the Jackass gang’s mix of pranks and narrative film, on a scale of “Good Grandpa” to “Bad Grandpa”? Though just to be clear, nobody used that scale.
The movie follows the adventures of Johnny Knoxville’s old man character Irving Zisman as he drives his grandson (Jackson Nicoll) to go live with his dad after his mom gets thrown in jail. The movie has a loose plot structure that moves from real life pranks, to narrative bits, mixing scripted dialogue with real-world reactions.
The Pageant Scene Is A Stand-Out
“The best of the written scenes finds Billy entering an actual beauty pageant, dressed as a little girl. When he starts acting like a pint-sized stripper, the satire finally hits a ‘Borat’-level peak. But where Sacha Baron Cohen always has the daring to stand his ground, Tremaine and Knoxville fold. And they do so before we learn how the judges — who are, after all, used to seeing children presented as miniature adults — might have responded.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, The New York Daily News
Nicoll Could Win An Oscar (For Something Else)
“An unknown child actor, Nicoll has soulful eyes and an almost frightening deadpan composure. When he begs strangers to be his new dad, they’re legitimately unnerved (but they still abandon him on the street). By Jackass standards, Bad Grandpa is benign — it’s neither as fun nor as thrilling as watching Knoxville play tetherball with a beehive. But Nicoll deserves as much applause as Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin. Put him in a remake of The Bicycle Thief and the kid could win an Oscar.” — Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly
Knoxville’s Still Got It!
“Even with Knoxville buried under layers of latex, his willingness to do anything for a laugh is a gift that keeps on giving, whether he’s getting smashed between the jaws of a spring-loaded adjustable bed or hurled through a plate-glass window by a malfunctioning strip-mall kiddie ride.” — Scott Foundas, Variety
Why Weren’t They Arrested?
“Some of these gags are hilarious; others offer little more than the first few beats of confusion and indignation a normal person might experience upon seeing, for instance, an eight-year-old puking up beer at a picnic table. Reaction shots are strung together to suggest that the old man’s public negligence as a caretaker (and outright criminality, as in a long shoplifting scene) goes unreported to police. But of course the filmmakers were on hand to keep concerned citizens from dialing 911.” — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter