Geezers be­hav­ing badly in creaky Jack­ass flick

Bad Grandpa needs more dan­ger, less script, writes Roger Moore

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

STRIP the dan­ger out of Bo­rat and the in­juries out of Jack­ass and you’ve got a bead on Bad Grandpa, a fit­fully funny, semi-scripted Jack­ass out­ing built around elab­o­rately staged pranks played on the un­sus­pect­ing.

Johnny Knoxville dons con­vinc­ing old-age makeup and be­comes Irv­ing Zis­man, whom we meet at his wife’s doc­tor’s surgery. ‘‘I thought she’d never die,’’ he says. In­no­cent by­standers give him a look. At the fu­neral, a hired black church choir freaks out – a bit – at Irv­ing’s taste­less eu­logy and the may­hem with his crack­head daugh­ter (Ge­orgina Cates) that dumps the cas­ket over in front of ev­ery­body.

A run­ning gag in the movie: black peo­ple’s ner­vous­ness around a corpse.

An­other run­ning gag: Irv­ing’s racially tinged wisecracks to His­panic store clerks, black cashiers and strip club fans and a fetch­ing Asian woman his eightyear-old ‘‘grand­son’’ (Jack­son Ni­coll) be­friends some­where around Nashville.

The crack­head daugh­ter’s dumped the kid on Grandpa. Af­ter a very pub­lic, Skype In­ter­net cafe rant with the kid’s no-good pot­head dad (com­plete with bong hits) to rat­tle the pa­trons, we’re off on a bad grandparenting trek from Ne­braska to North Carolina, com­plete with flat­u­lence gags, sag­ging body parts, bad driv­ing and a demon­stra­tion of ex­treme shoplift­ing.

There are ex­plo­sive laughs in these stunts – grandpa sucker-punched by an airbag, hurled through a store win­dow by a cheap kids’ ride set up out front.

Most of this stuff you’ve seen in the very funny TV ads. And the kid (Ni­coll was in Fun Size) is flat-out hi­lar­i­ous, a nat­u­ral ‘‘Jack­ass’’ in train­ing.

The scripted in­ter­ludes aren’t funny at all. The gags are more em­bar­rass­ing than any­thing else. Take away that el­e­ment of dan­ger, that this irate restau­rant or store owner may go off on Knoxville or that biker gang will flat­ten him, and Bad Grandpa loses some of that Bo­rat ap­peal.

Limit the stunts to a few rub­berised gen­i­tal gags and you lose a lot of that ‘‘Oh-no-they-didn’t!’’ Jack­ass ap­peal.

But a male strip­per re­vue goes ter­ri­bly wrong and a cou­ple of tum­bles in­volv­ing trans­port­ing Granny’s corpse (por­trayed by Spike Jonze?) raise a funny eye­brow. And there’s big fin­ish.

As Jack­ass japes go, though, Bad Grandpa was bet­ter in con­cept than it is as a full-length fea­ture film.

Jack­ass Presents: Bad Grandpa opens to­day.

Jack­ass Presents: Bad Grandpa.

Jack­son Ni­coll (Billy) and Johnny Knoxville (Irv­ing Zis­man) in

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