Irving Zisman just lost his wife. And he couldn’t be happier.
After many, many years of marriage, Irving figures he’s finally been set free to sow his wrinkled and graying but still quite wild oats. The only problem is … he’s got family. Instead of leaving him alone, Irving’s thirtysomething daughter has gotten busted for drugs again. And she’s saddled her father with an 8-year-old grandson. Talk about a wet blanket!
There’s only one thing to do. Irving will have to take the kid to the boy’s estranged father out in Raleigh, N.C., It’ll be a few more days of misery, but at least there’s light at the end of the nanny tunnel. Maybe he can just get the kid drunk and knock him out cold for the trip or something. He’d toss the brat in the trunk of the car, but he’s still got his dead wife back there.
Oh well. The strip clubs and massage parlors can wait a few days more. Or … not.
The fact is, Irving’s young grandson, Billy, is a mini-me carbon copy of his gramps. And even though we’re reminded repeatedly that their “relationship” is scripted for the camera’s eye, the two of them come off as nothing more than a very disturbing pair.
Come on, get to the positive part already, I know you’re thinking right about now.
And still now.
What subject were we on? Positivity in a Jacka‑‑ movie? Yeah. Let me get right on that. Um. Well. OK. There is one small pool of dingy sunlight in this otherwise pointless phlegm hawk into the stormy wind: When Irving delivers his grandson to a bar (where the boy’s father currently happens to be swilling his lunch), they encounter a real-world group of motorcyclists who call themselves the Guardians of Children. And these rough and tumble men and women quickly stand up to care for and protect young Billy when they think he may be in danger. He’s not. But their reactions seem like they’re real. (Or at least as real as anything can get in a flick like this.)
After making a couple of moving guys transfer his dead wife to the trunk of his car, Irving (mockingly) links hands and prays with them over the body. The Guardians biker gang wear religious iconography and have mentions of God embroidered on their vests.
Many, many, many, many (many) repeated gags evoke masturbation, prostitution, stripping and various sex acts (oral among them), along with comments about the size, shape, taste and smell of male and female genitalia.
Many of these are directed at or delivered by young Billy, played by 8-year-old Jackson Nicoll.
Billy dresses up as a girl to join a Carolina Cutie Pie kids’ beauty pageant. During the talent portion, he strips down to a bra and garter belt while grinding his way through a stripper’s pole dance routine.
Billy looks for his grandfather in both an X-rated theater and an adult bookstore, where a woman talks with him, trying in vain to cover her abundant exposed cleavage.
When going to a real-world male strip club, Irving openly propositions a number of women while muscular men strip to nothing but a crotch sock while miming frantic sexual activities and mingling with the female patrons. (One stripper reveals an obvious erection.) Irving then decides to join the disrobing action, dropping trou and dancing in his briefs—with his “aging” testicles and scrotum hanging out, well below their hem. His oversized penis is exposed as well during the closing credits.
An old woman (played by a man) bares a breast and squirts someone with breast milk. We see a fish sporting a large set of male genitals; Irving appears to perform oral sex on it.
Done reading this section? Good. I’m done writing it, never mind whether it’s comprehensive or not.
Irving is sent smashing headfirst through a plate glass window and later has his face bashed by an expanding vehicle airbag. Billy hits his grandfather in the crotch with his fist, dumps him out of a shopping cart and sends him sprawling backwards when he breaks his chair. Irving smashes signs and public property with his car. He also runs into a line of parked motorcycles. He’s repeatedly bent in half while lying on an overactive mechanical bed.
Crude or Profane Language
Over a dozen f-words and even more s-words. There are 10 or so uses each of “a‑‑” and “d‑‑n,” and two or three each of “h‑‑‑” and “b‑‑ch.” God’s and Jesus’ names are both abused repeatedly (God’s combined with “d‑‑n”). Several people flip a middle-finger “salute.”
Drug and Alcohol Content
Billy’s dad smokes cigarettes, takes a few puffs on a bong, and drinks beer and hard liquor. We see both Billy and his grandfather down cans of beer on several occasions. Billy spits the stuff out after his first sip, but later we see him reacting in an inebriated way. Irving mixes and drinks margaritas in a bingo hall meeting. Any number of strip club and bar patrons smoke and drink. Billy talks about his mother being a crack addict. (She’s sent to jail for abusing drugs.)
Other Negative Elements
Gross and vulgar gags involve urination, farts, ejaculation and defecation. During a farting contest with Billy, Irving violently defecates on a wall. After inserting his penis into a soda machine (??!) Irving calls for help while pulling and stretching his private parts, putting on a “show” for incredulous passersby. He also exposes his bare backside, mooning folks out of a moving car’s window. A dead woman’s body is dropped to the floor and later tossed over a bridge railing. Irving drinks ink. He prompts his grandson to steal food and eat it in the store.
Bad Santa, Bad Teacher and now Bad Grandpa. At least these flicks let you know right up front that they’re going to be … bad. Or should I say, more properly, that their protagonists are less than what decent society might expect.
No. Let’s just stick with bad.
In this case the predicted badness is part of a half staged, Candid Camera-like “comedy” romp. It features Johnny Knoxville, dressed in layers of old age latex, as an outrageously libidinous octogenarian who drags his young “grandson” through scores of disgusting, lustful, lascivious, dangerous and/or drunken situations. And then the secret cameras roll to catch real-world reactions. It’s Borat with wrinkles, let’s say.
As with all Jacka‑‑ productions—whether on TV or in movie form—viewers are battered with as many bawdy and tasteless sight gags as possible, and with as much painful-looking nonsense as can be crammed into the time span. Prosthetic genitals dangle and stretch, men and kids booze it up and fall over, feces splatter, a little boy pretends to be a female stripper.
At what point does this flagrantly foul flick cross over from goofy, gotcha fun into contributing to the delinquency of minors—its own 8-year-old “star” and the scores of kids who will end up watching? Well. Within the first five minutes.
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Bad Grandpa Movie Review