Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Blu-ray Review
One of the reasons the JACKASS skits work is because they’re just that: skits. After a few minutes, the joke would grow old. As funny as they can be, how long could you watch or Golf Course Airhorn or Leech Eye? (Although, admittedly, I would gladly contribute to a MEDICINE BALL DODGEBALL: THE MOVIE Kickstarter.)
And so here is BAD GRANDPA, the fourth installment in the JACKASS movie series (after 2002’s JACKASS: THE MOVIE, 2006’s JACKASS NUMBER TWO and 2010’s JACKASS 3D). Fans of the franchise will remember the old man character played by Johnny Knoxville, who was partial to stealing, riding his motorized scooter through traffic and letting his testicles hang out the bottom of his shorts.
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA is the first of the series to have an actual storyline. While attending his wife’s (Catherine Keener, in a fairly easy role) funeral, 86-year-old Irving Zisman is informed by his daughter (Georgina Cates, 2007’s SINNER) that she’ll be going back to prison and that he’ll have to look after her eight-year-old son, Billy (Jackson Nicoll, 2012’s FUN SIZE). While the plot is being set up, the audience is left wondering how long it will be until the casket gets knocked over.
But the plot is nothing more than a device to get Knoxville and Nicoll from stunt to stunt. Nevermind that Billy wants to go fishing or that Irving has until Sunday to get to North Carolina; this movie is devoted to one thing and one thing only: seeing a kooky old man get involved in vulgar scenarios. All the while, hidden cameras are there to catch bystanders’ reactions.
So there he is, getting his “Leroy” stuck in a soda machine, being folded in two by a bed, shoving his wife’s corpse into a car trunk, launching a coin-operated duck through a storefront, trying to ship his grandson in a box, mixing margaritas at a bingo game, making sandwiches at the grocery store, taking the stage at an all-black male strip joint, and so on. And of course the kid gets in on it, pleading with a stranger to be his new dad, pushing his grandpa around in a shopping cart, drinking beer in the park, and the like. It’s not every year that a movie like this gets an Academy Award nomination. (It’s up for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.)
So the makeup is effective (especially in fooling the innocents nearby), which in turn must have made the filmmakers feel like the movie itself worked. Sure, those that had to sign waivers are shocked and appalled, but the whole show wears out its welcome pretty fast for those sitting through every single skit.
Some of the setups and reactions are funny (check out the faces after Irving sharts on a diner wall), but the screenplay, by Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze, all of whom co-created the show, really has one joke in it and is sure it can get to the finish line as easily as its predecessors. There’s something to be said of the team’s confidence, but BAD GRANDPA probably should have taken a cue from JACKASS 2.5.
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Movies of this variety will never benefit from high-definition and so this Blu-ray is about what you might expect. The picture is clear enough at times, but is often grainy and ugly during many gag scenes.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The audio transfer is also weak and without any dimension, although the movie certainly doesn’t necessitate complex sound.
Behind the Scenes (34:44): Included here are eight segments, which use interviews (with Johnny Knoxville and others) and behind-the-scenes footage to show how certain pranks were achieved. They are: “The Funeral,” “Estate Sale,” “Window Launch,” “Shipping Billy,” “The Penguin,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Drop Off,” and “Beauty Pageant.”
Alternate Marks (19:51): Collected here are six alternate takes: “Meet Billy,” “Meet Irving,” “The Skype Call,” “Billy Shops for Parents,” “Irving Hits on Women 1,” and “Irving Hits on Women 2.”
Deleted Scenes (6:09): There are three short scenes here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Street Magician,” “Chair Kick” and “Shopping Cart.”