Plot: What’s it about?
Fans of the Jackass television show and films will be happy to know that they’re not letting the show die. Granted this isn’t a Jackass movie, per se, but we all know that the roots of the character portrayed in Bad Grandpa stem strictly out of it. I remember watching the show some fifteen years ago, back when these guys were just twenty-something’s looking for a good time. MTV picked up the show, three (and a half) movies followed and the rest, as they say, is history. The show also made a bona fide star out of lead Jackass Johnny Knoxville, who had leading roles in Men in Black II and The Dukes of Hazard. Not bad for a guy who made a name for himself by riding a rocket. As fans of the show know, there’s no real plot in these movies, it’s just a series of scenes with the most genuine of reactions. Bad Grandpa aims to change all that by adding a bit (note: a bit) of a plot to the framework. Will it work? Think of it like one of the Saturday Night Live movies. Wayne’s World was a skit that turned into a 90 minute movie. So too can this. Or can it?
Johnny Knoxville plays Irving Zisman, a would be grandfather to Billy (Jackson Nicoll). Billy’s mother is set to start a stint in the big house for selling drugs (among other things). She relinquishes custody of Billy to Irving at a funeral of all places and declares that Irving is to drive Billy across country to live with his father. As their journey progresses, the movie really takes off. Part of the allure of seeing Knoxville (a man in his 40’s) portray a foul-mouthed, drunken grandfather, is seeing how people react when he behaves in public. Irving gets stuck inside a vending machine, Billy enters a beauty patent (as a girl) among other things. Again, those familiar with Jackass will know what to expect. While I won’t ruin what little plot this movie has, I will say that I had to pause it a few times just to catch my breath. Some of the stunts on Jackass were funny, but others had me squirming. Bad Grandpa is pretty much all humor and it’s fun to see Knoxville perform as he clearly could care less.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s really nothing different about this “new” version than the previous Blu-ray disc as they look identical. Like the Jackass films, Bad Grandpa is shot with a lot of hidden cameras, but thankfully the ones used are HD so we’re treated to a fairly good-looking 1.78:1 AVC HD encoded image. There are some spots that look a bit out of focus or grainy, but given the content of the film, it’s to be expected. There just wouldn’t be the same effect if the subject had a giant camera pointed in their faces, would there? Flesh tones look normal, though I have to say that Knoxville does make a convincing senior citizen. And further proof that the apocalypse is upon us, Bad Grandpa was actually nominated for an Oscar for Best Makeup. The film showcases this work nicely and I was amply satisfied with the video presentation.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Again, this is the same mix as the previous Blu-ray. The DTS HD Master Audio mix has a few moments, but they’re few and far between. Like the video presentation, the audio is a bit hit and miss here. The cameras and microphones were hidden and sometimes there’s a bit of distortion associated with the vocals. It’s nothing to get worked up over, but if you want to crank up your speakers to show off your setup, this isn’t the movie to do it with. Those familiar with the Jackass movies will be right at home here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Paramount is one of the worst offenders of “Special Edition” discs, but in their defense the Jackass line of films makes it expected. This is actually a bit of a different movie with an entire new set of special features, so they’ve made it so that true fans will probably want both editions. We do lose the DVD of the movie with this version as well.
- Round Table Interview – Johnny Knoxville, Director Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze sit down for a discussion about the origin of these characters, some of the various special effects used and the origin of the story itself.
- Casting Billy – Essentially how the actor who portrayed Billy was cast and how he’d react to various unscripted moments.
- Deleted Scenes – Eight more are included, though some do seem a bit repetitive.