Johnny Knoxville as Grandpa and Jackson Nicoll as Billy get up to shenanigans in Bad Grandpa.

Johnny Knoxville as Grandpa and Jackson Nicoll as Billy get up to shenanigans in Bad Grandpa.

REEL REVIEWS: Grandpa never left the frat house

From the makers of Jackass, Bad Grandpa is not just a bunch of crazy stunts, there’s a story to it.

  • Nov. 3, 2013 2:00 p.m.

When his crack-head mom has to return to jail, little Billy (Jackson Nicoll) has to go live with his deadbeat dad a few states over. To get there, Billy must to travel with his reluctant, recently widowed grandpa (Johnny Knoxville).

What ensues is a wild and raunchy road trip that ends up being surprisingly touching.

We say, “It’s not just a bunch of crazy stunts, there’s a story to it.”

TAYLOR: I’m not a fan of the Jackass crew. I’m not big on slapstick, stupidity and was a little too old for such shenanigans by the time the MTV show materialized.

I saw the first Jackass movie out of curiosity and it made me giggle a couple times. But the TV show and the movies are just the guys running around pranking and stunting, with no narrative. Bad Grandpa involves some stunts, but it is more like Borat, in that there is a script, there are characters, but the world is not in on the gag. I was surprised when it became clear that this was going to be a storied film. I was even more surprised when it sucked me in.

HOWE: I, on the other hand, hadn’t seen any of the Jackass movies or the TV show, but I did know what sort of movie this was going to be and to be truthful, I was really not looking that forward to it. Saying that, it also sucked me in and I found myself laughing, a lot.

There was one scene where I was laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes. Even now when I think about it, it stills makes me chuckle to myself.

TAYLOR: Well that’s a good sign. I think folks who don’t care for rude buffoonery could find something funny in this film, if only for the reactions of the (sometimes) ridiculously foolish people who are the butt of the jokes.

At one point, Grandpa has had enough of Billy spoiling his amorous advances on the ladies (insert censored popular rhyming phrase here), and he packages the kid up to send him to his dad via UPS. When the ladies at the office discover there’s a child in the box, they seem to actually consider sending him anyway. Although there are some good laughs along the way, what makes the film succeed is the odd couple aspect of over-worldly child and horny old man.

A palpable, believable relationship develops between the two main characters that ends up creating a bit of real drama, in a fake environment, surrounded by hidden cameras. It’s pretty clever and well done, for a movie full of sex and poop jokes.

HOWE: I will agree with you, Bad Grandpa, for me anyway, is the funniest movie I have seen this year.

Knoxville was very funny as the grandpa, but the real star of the show was little Billy. He was great going up to random people asking them his strange questions.

— Howe gives Bad Grandpa 3.5 vending machines out of 5.

— Taylor gives it 3.5 wedgies out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C., whose column appears in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.