Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" is the kind of movie that, even if you like, you wouldn't want to see more than once a year.

It's essentially a very R-rated "Candid Camera," a venerable format that effectively plays on disbelief, schadenfreude, and the awful thought: What would I do? Would I react just as stupidly as these poor souls? A lot of the laughs in the movie - and there are plenty of big ones - belong to pint-sized Jackson Nicoll as Billy, whose crackhead mom's upcoming trip to the big house requires Grandpa Irving (Johnny Knoxville) to drive him to Raleigh and the deadbeat dad who sees him as $600 a month in free child support. Nicoll has better comic instincts than Knoxville, who often goes to the big finish of a scene before letting it play out and the comic tension build, as when Billy waits for him outside a building and asks each man who walks by if he can come home with him: "I love you, Dad." Highlights: when Knoxville hijacks the stage at a club for black male strippers, and when Nicoll, in drag, enters a girls' beauty pageant and strips down to the sound of Warrant's "Cherry Pie." There are obvious ways the movie could have been funnier and richer, and just made more sense (e.g., by leaving out the scenes between the actors), but it made my audience laugh and cringe as one.

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