‘Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Back in the days when he was still funny, Jay Leno used to have a routine about why an appreciation for the Three Stooges was a uniquely male phenomenon. It was dead-on.

To that list of gender-specific entertainment geared to men, I’d add the willingness to watch and laugh at movies from the crew of “Jackass.”

I plead guilty to an abashed fondness for the “Jackass” movies, which revealed new depth to the kind of childishness hinted at by the “Jackass” TV show. Part bro bravado, part “Candid Camera,” part daredevil, often scatological, the “Jackass” films were grab-bags of outlandish jokes, each more elaborate, painful-looking or stomach-turning than the last.

I went – and I laughed. I laughed until I choked, as I like to say. I’m not proud of myself, but there it is.

No matter how far I think I’m evolving as a human being, that male chromosome is a resilient character-definer. And so I went to see “Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa” at a multiplex this past weekend, since the studio incorrectly assumed I’m too highbrow to go to a “Jackass” screening.

And I laughed. A lot.

I won’t for a minute attempt to make an argument for “Bad Grandpa” as an actual movie which, in a way, it’s trying to be. But not really: It’s more like the way “Borat” was an actual movie, with a fictional character interacting with real people, who don’t understand that they’ve become part of an elaborate movie joke.

The movie part – the thin tissue of story that holds it together – is no less substantial than a lot of actual films that follow a similar template.

This review continues on my website.

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