I caught the movie Bad Grandpa last night. I thought it was brilliant, but probably not for the reasons you might expect.
In Bad Grandpa, Johnny Knoxville creates a old man character who goes on a mission to return his grandson to his father. Along the way, the producers put the old man and kid into all sorts of crazy and interesting real-life situations, with the rest of the “cast” primarily consisting of the unaware public, akin to the techniques in Borat.
Let me say one thing here, up front. I didn’t make it all the way through the last Jackass movie. I hated it. I thought they crossed a line, and kids were getting hurt for humor. That’s where I checked out. For me, the true comedic genius of Jackass was in the scenes when they put unsuspecting “real life people” in kooky situations that are almost incomprehensible. Not hurting people.
I guess I am not looking for “shock value” in comedy, but moreso “stun value,” akin to what the television series Candid Camera was all about, and the moder incarnation of sorts, Punk’d. When a Candid Camera scene was over, the “targets” were usually laughing as hard as the cast and producers, because the situation was so incredibly crazy. There was never a poor kid holding his balls as he writhes in pain for his big moment on a movie screen. There were no kids jumping off of a roof and landing into the ER because they saw it on TV.
So, I’m not sure what possessed me to watch Bad Grandpa last night, but I did, and I was surprised. This film had me laughing from beginning to end, it had moments of genius. Truth be told, I kept waiting for the scene where they would humiliate someone, like the frat kids in the RV on Borat or whatever — but it never happened. The scenes in Bad Grandpa were well-thought out, extremely funny and chaotic – and when each scene was over, the people who had been fooled were laughing and smiling, not filing lawsuits. There is proof of this, because those scenes are the closing credits.
So, unless I am missing a lot of behind the scenes evil mayhem that never made it on screen, I give Bad Grandpa 5 stars, and a comedy analysis of “you will laugh like an idiot.”
Bravo, Johnny Knoxville.