North Texas Daily

Review: “Bad Grandpa”

Review: “Bad Grandpa”

Review: “Bad Grandpa”
October 24
14:44 2013

Cole Clay

Rating: 2.5 / 5

“You know what the secret to comedy is…TIMING” is a small piece of advice that Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) exclaims to his grandson Billy (Jackson Niccoli) as they barrel their way through America, offending everybody who crosses their path.

Ironically, it is timing that has worked so well for Knoxville and company over the years.

After creating one of MTV’s flagship franchises—13 years so far– it seems that Knoxville’s time has run out. The gags in “Bad Grandpa” are about as old and stale as Zisman himself.

The film attempts to form a slight narrative that has Zisman toting his grandson, Billy, across America in his never ending quest to chase women, fish and booze. This format worked for Sacha Baron-Cohen in the 2006 mega-hit “Borat,” but here the pranks are milder and less invigorating.

Zisman’s 8-year-old pseudo-grandson Billy embraces the role completely from start to finish by provoking pedestrians and dancing in drag at a beauty pageant. The duo develops an endearing dynamic, in a twisted kind of way.

Most of the scenes have the potential to force uproarious laughs from the audience, such as a bit involving stealing food from a supermarket, but deflate just as we are about to get the big payoff reaction from the unsuspecting citizens.

Knoxville still has a genuine comedic presence by displaying his physical abilities; he literally rockets through a plate-glass window and displays a suggestive dance while participating in an all male revue that would have made “Magic Mike” jealous. However, it just fails to have the same effect as when we see the “Jackass” crew antagonizing each other.

If the “Jackass” franchise were to continue, it would be wise for Knoxville to abandon the distracting three act structure and stick to what he knows best, stand-alone skits. It has been a good run Johnny, but it is time to hang up the crutches.

“Bad Grandpa” movie still. Photo courtesy of 

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