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Jeff Tremaine
Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll
Writing Credits:
Fax Bahr (story), Spike Jonze (story), Johnny Knoxville (and story), Adam Small (story), Jeff Tremaine (and story)

86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with one of the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old grandson Billy in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicoll) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera. Along the way Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter child beauty pageant contestants (and their mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens. Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.

Box Office:
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$45.033 million on 3471 screens.
Domestic Gross
$100.020 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

91 min. (Theatrical Cut) / 102 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 1/28/2014

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Copies of the Film
• Eight “Behind the Scenes” Segments
• “Alternate Marks”
• Deleted Scenes
• DVD Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 14, 2014)

Back in 2006, Borat became a big hit, as movie-goers ate up its gags based on a fictional character’s alleged interactions with real people. Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen went to the well again with 2009’s Bruno but came away with greatly diminished returns, as audiences seemed less interested in more of the same, even when based on a different role.

Cohen moved on to more script-based material but others demonstrated that audiences could still be brought to theaters for more “hidden camera” antics via 2013’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. Like the Cohen films, Grandpa shows the interaction between fictional characters and real people. The premise: eight-year-old Billy (Jackson Nicoll) needs a new guardian when his mom Kimmie (Georgina Cates) gets sent to jail. She asks her newly-widowed father Irving (Johnny Knoxville) to take the kid on a cross-country trip to return Billy to his father. We follow their wacky adventures on the way.

Admission that may affect how you interpret my take on Grandpa: I never watched Jackass or any of its related endeavors. I never saw the point or the humor in those programs. Why would I want to watch some guy staple his balls to his leg or jump off of a roof or whatever? Obviously a lot of people enjoyed that material but it’s not for me.

Grandpa may adopt the Borat framework but it remains pretty firmly in the Jackass world, as it concentrates on outrageous gags and gross-out material. The film’s first big bit shows a horny Irving as he humps a vending machine. Inevitably, his penis gets stuck and he begs bystanders for help.

That’s what passes for comedy these days? Grandpa doesn’t focus exclusively on these “faux real” elements, as it also comes with scripted material, mainly between Billy and Irving. These sequences exist mainly as exposition, though, and act as little more than interstitials to take Irving and Billy to the next situation where they can act inappropriately in front of strangers.

I can’t claim that not a single moment of humor arrives, but these laughs materialize at an exceedingly infrequent pace. For every mildly amusing scene like Irving as he gets repeatedly squished inside a malfunctioning adjustable bed, we find plenty more that lack even rudimentary cleverness.

Or believability. “Contrived” becomes the word of the day, as we find one idiotic circumstance after another, few of which seem even vaguely realistic. They exist to force comedy at us and they bring us very few laughs.

And do people really buy Knoxville as an octogenarian? Doesn’t he seem awfully fit and limber for a guy in his eighties? He gets a decent makeup job but doesn’t convey a sense of age at all.

I think humor can be mined from these kinds of real-life situations, so I’m not opposed to the format. Heck, Letterman used to provide hilarious bits when he’d go to different stores or restaurants, but those came with something absent from Grandpa: intelligence. Grandpa simply throws crudeness and shock at us and hopes we’ll laugh. You might – I didn’t.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Grandpa used a variety of camera formats to capture its material, so the quality tended to be a bit messy.

In particular, the “hidden camera” bits – which dominated the film – left it with lackluster definition much of the time. Some shots displayed pretty good clarity, but quite a few seemed moderately soft and mushy. Light signs of jaggies and shimmering appeared, and I saw mild edge haloes at times, perhaps due to attempts to bolster the sharpness of the original material. Outside of some light video artifacting in darker shots, source flaws failed to appear.

Colors went with natural tones. These consistently came across with reasonable clarity and vivacity. The hues never excelled, but they were perfectly adequate. The same went for the blacks, which seemed acceptably dark, and shadows. A few low-light sequences were somewhat thick, but these usually seemed to be fairly clear. I gave the image a “C-“ because of all the softness, but that appeared to reflect the source.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Grandpa, it proved satisfactory but don’t expect a stellar soundfield. Music provided much of the audio, as songs and score offered good stereo imaging.

Otherwise general environmental information dominated. A few sequences became more active – like the bingo parlor or the strip club – but the track stayed pretty low-key most of the time. That made sense given the nature of the material.

No problems with quality emerged. Speech was natural and concise, even when recorded in potentially problematic situations. Music sounded lush and full, while effects appeared clear and accurate. The audio seemed pretty mediocre, but it suited the film.

Among the set’s extras, the biggest attraction probably comes from the presence of two versions of the film. We get the theatrical cut (1:31:54) as well as an unrated cut (1:42:13). Because the Blu-ray became my initial screening of Grandpa, I can’t detail the additions, but I wanted to mention that we get the two editions.

Under Behind the Scenes, we get eight segments with a total running time of 34 minutes, 44 seconds. In these, we hear from writer/actor Johnny Knoxville, associate producer Knate Gwaltney, segment producer Jerrod Brom and director Jeff Tremaine. In these clips, we learn how the flick’s producers set up its big gags and executed them. These tend to be pretty informative and give us a good look at the challenges involved.

Alternate Marks provides six clips that last a total of 19 minutes, 51 seconds. These show the same set-ups in the film but with different participants much of the time. Many of these fail to get the desired reactions, which actually makes them more interesting to me; it’s fun to go “behind the curtain” and view the parts of the shoot that flopped.

Three Deleted Scenes go for a total of six minutes, nine seconds. We find “Street Magician” (2:40), “Chair Kick” (1:40) and “Shopping Cart” (2:49). These offer more of the usual gags and reactions from onlookers. “Magician” is more entertaining than most due to the oddness of a guy Irving swindles; he repeatedly shouts “don’t hurt me!” for no logical reason.

A second disc gives us a DVD Copy of Grandpa. It provides only the theatrical cut and lacks the extended version of the film. Other than previews, it doesn’t present any extras.

Will fans of Jackass enjoy Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa? Probably. Will anyone else? Probably not, as it delivers little more than a collection of contrived attempts at outrageous wackiness. The Blu-ray offers spotty picture and audio, but those appear to replicate the source accurately, and it comes with a decent set of supplements. If this sort of “comedy” works for you, go for it, but Grandpa leaves me almost entirely cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 5
0 3:
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