Bad Grandpa – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

bad grandpaBad Grandpa – 3.5/5 – This isn’t an easy film to classify.  I say this because this film uses a slick style of comedy.  That edginess is created by a generic script placed against the backdrop of real life situations.  If anything could be said, this is a comedy, which focuses on situational humor.  With that being said; Bad Grandpa is a film that brings to the forefront a character from the ‘Jackass’ world, and places him into situations that are set with the backdrop of everyday America.  The antics, while somewhat predictable, can be quite hilarious.  Overall, Bad Grandpa is a film that will entertain.

Premise: 86-year-old Irving, is put to the ultimate test.  He is tasked to journey across America with the most unlikely companion.  That companion is his 8 year-old grandson, Billy.

In the lead role of Grandpa Irving is Johnny Knoxville.  Know for slapstick humor, he does well in creating a real life caricature of a elderly man.  As this person, he provides someone that has elements that are outrageous, crude, vile, but are downright entertaining to watch.  Through these combining characteristics, it helps bring out the whimsical to real life situations.  Knoxville is a marvel at creating interactions that seem impossible, but become believable and hilarious at the same time.  There are times when the over exaggeration creates a ‘dulling the senses’ situations, but that is minor point to make, when it really has no bearing on the overall entertainment.  Opposite Johnny Knoxville is the grandson Billy, portrayed by young actor Jackson Nicoll.  As the grandson, he is basically a mirror image of characteristics of the grandpa character.  He provides the same great wits, charms and comedic timing as Knoxville.  Even when he is left to his own individual scenarios, he keeps the comedic elements high, commanding them like he is a veteran.  When it comes to describing the supporting cast, you have to look past some common elements of supporting characters.  I mention this because the supporting cast is mostly real life people caught in these situations.  With the film basic structure, the supporting cast are meant to be plot devices.  Even though they are general plot devices, they are still amusing to watch because of their reactions and interactions with the main characters.  They help keep the film grounded, keeping with a steady tone for them all.

The direction of the film is a one that overlaps two themes; a coming of age story and situation humor.  There isn’t anything deep or thought provoking in the way the film is directed.  The film follows a simple story that is setup within a basic structure:

Introduction/premise > story exposition > character revelation > climax > epilogue

Littered along this common path is the humor.  The direction might be simple, but it helps keep the humor grounded so that it can parallel the story.  In the films introduction, we see as Irving is forced to take custody of his grandson, as he is tasked by Billy’s mother to take him to his fathers.  Once the film introduces the main players, there is nothing much else leveling anything within the story.  The rest of the film is placed against the characters and their funny antics they create on the road trip.  The film goes along a linear path, as you watch as Irving and Billy get into silly situations.  As these events happen, you watch as it affects both the real people of the situation, but also the connection of Irving and Billy.  These two individuals (at first) don’t really want to be around each other, but it starts to slowly change through the story’s exposition.  As this relationship develops, the humor is still prevalent, but there is also a warming of the hearts beginning.  You see character progression begin to bubble along the surface.  From this point, the film hits that ‘character revelation’, which then quickly leads into the climax.  From here, you hit the peak of both the ‘coming of age’ theme as well as the situational humor.  The peaks become a complete circle for the film; you will both laugh and smile till the end.

The visuals are pretty much a backdrop of America.  There isn’t anything in the visuals that standout, but are enough to give the film some aesthetic appeal.  The score adds to the humor through the mix of country and modern music.  This helps provide precision at specific moments; causing the situational humor to become ‘unforgettable’ at times.

Overall, Bad Grandpa is a film that will appeal to some, but not many.  Regardless of the story, the characters and humor is what makes the film.  If you’re fan of Jackass comedy or comedies of this nature, you will enjoy this film.  It is a fun time at the cinemas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *