Remember sitting through all three “Jackass” movies, hiding behind your fingertips, cringing at all of the gruesome, death-defying stunts? Well, Johnny Knoxville is at it again, bringing just as much repulsion and guilty fascination to the big screen. The movie, “Bad Grandpa,” is about an 86-year-old man taking his grandson on a cross-country road trip. What could go wrong with a little quality time to form a precious bond between child and grandparent, right?
Wrong. Little Billy (Jackson Nicoll) is left at his grandmother’s funeral by his dead beat, jail-bound mother and left in the not-so-capable hands of his grandfather, Irving Zisman (Knoxville). Together, they must embark on, and attempt to survive, a trip across the country to drop Billy off in a no-better situation with his pipe-smoking father, who is more interested in his child support check than his child.
There is only one problem: Irving feels like he is finally free after the passing of his wife, and ready to get back out into the world and have a good time – perhaps too good of a time. Billy gets dragged along, learning to love the lifestyle and even instigates many of their shenanigans.
On the road, they encounter strip clubs, bingo nights, wedding crashing and the world of beauty pageants – all the while with a special passenger in their trunk. This is just a few of the insane and jaw-dropping events they get into.
The film has a “Bruno”-esque feel to it, with a loosely framed plot that is widely determined by the organic reactions of the unsuspecting public that Knoxville and Nicoll terrify and anger.
Expect nudity, profanity and a lot of offensive jokes. But underneath all of that, there is a weirdly sweet bond that is formed between Irving and Billy.
Sure, it was not the most educational or value-oriented movie to watch, but it makes for a humorous night. Another exciting draw is that some of the scenes were filmed in Ohio – in both Cleveland and Columbus.
One disclaimer: you may never be able to look at soda machines the same way again.