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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Blu-ray Review)

24 Jan, 2014 By: John Latchem

Street 1/28/14
Box Office $101.98 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use. Unrated version also available.
Stars Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll.

The “Jackass” brand is notorious for its wacky stunts and obnoxious hidden-camera pranks foisted on an unsuspecting public. The TV series and the first three movies it spawned presented these gags as a series of self-contained vignettes. Bad Grandpa veers from the format a bit by structuring the usual pranks through an actual storyline that carries on throughout the film to great effect.

It’s more like Borat in that regard, with Johnny Knoxville (in heavy makeup) reprising his Irving Zisman character and interacting with real people hoping to provoke a response to his outrageous behavior.

The basic plot involves Irving having to take care of his grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll), after Billy’s mother is sent to jail for smoking too much crack. Irving drives from Nebraska to North Carolina to take Billy to his father, and the two bond as they subject the public to their antics (including a fart contest in a diner that leaves one unfortunate busboy with a nasty mess on the wall to clean up).

The audacity of Irving and Billy in setting up the gags is usually funny in itself, but it’s the reactions of their victims that really put the film over the top. (Most of the marks are good sports about it, as we see in the extras, but some must have been too offended to sign the release, judging by how many blurred out faces we see.) The hilarity is fairly balanced throughout, but the film saves the best for last with a takedown of child beauty pageants straight out of Little Miss Sunshine.

The extended cut is 10 minutes longer, containing a mix of new pranks and snippets from existing scenes. In addition, the Blu-ray includes three deleted scenes totaling about six minutes.

There’s about 14 minutes of alternate footage for some of the pranks, involving reactions from different people than what ended up in the film. The funniest one here involves the kid blatantly trying to get two people at the lawyer’s office to hook up.

The best extra is the half-hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes focusing on how they pulled off several of the major stunts. This answers a nagging question about how the producers would be so callous about ruining someone’s wedding (spoiler alert: it was the producer’s wedding; the bride knew what was going on, but the friends and family were in the dark).

Online reports suggested the disc might contain deleted scenes featuring Oscar-nominees Catherine Keener (as Irving’s wife in flashbacks) and Spike Jonze (as an old woman) in old-age makeup participating in some of the pranks. Aside from a few shots in the behind-the-scenes featurettes, their cut scenes aren’t included here, perhaps being saved for a rumored Bad Grandpa 1.5 Blu-ray down the line.

For Keener, it marks the second film of 2013 (along with Captain Phillips) in which she was booked to play the wife of the title character only to end up with what amounts to barely a cameo.

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