Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa–Road Comedy

A pleasant if undistinguished road comedy, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, is a male buddy comedy in which the partners are Irving Zisman, who is 86, and Grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll), who’s 8, embarking on a journey across America.

This Paramount release is family-friendly fare, which should benefit from lack of such fare at the movie market right now, which is dominated by terrific films made for mature audiences (“Gravity,” “Captain Phillips, “All Is Lost”), all rather grim survival tales.

To what extent Billy is getting good, useful, or realistic childrearing education from his grandfather would depend on the subjective perspective and value system of individual parents.

Johnny Knoxville is well cast as the signature Jackass character of Irving Zisman,  It’s about time that the gifted and handsome Knoxville, who a decade ago had starred in John Waters’” Dirty Shame,” should become a leading man and bona fide star, for which he would need a better role than this one)..

The gimmick of this comedy is that the trip is covered by an hidden camera, capturing all kinds of bizarre and eccentric encounters.  The quality of road movies as a genre is measured by the nature of stops along the way and the varied persona met. In that respect, the picture more or less fulfills expectations, sometimes desperately so.

Along the way, Irving introduces the impressionable Billy to some unexpected people, places and situations that may not be appropriate for his age.

Yet another variation of the Odd Couple formula, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” centers on the couple’s encounters with male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their ambitious stage mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and other unsuspecting citizens.  In short, the kinds of people that children of Billy’s age seldom meet or befriend.



Running time: 92 Minutes.

Directed by:  Jeff Tremaine

 Preston Lacy and Jeff Tremaine