We’ve had Teachers, Lieutenants and even Santa. Now it’s Grandpa’s turn to be Bad.
In what must surely be the surprise spin-off of the year, this October will see Irving Zisman shuffling his way across cinemas on both sides of the pond. You know…Irving Zisman? Old, grumpy, often seen with his plums falling out of his shorts?
Anyone familiar with MTV’s stunts-and-stupidity show Jackass will know that Zisman is the 86-year-old alter ego of Johnny Knoxville, who disguises himself under ‘dirty old man’ prosthetics before engaging in some very inappropriate behaviour. When discussing the possibilities for a fourth Jackass movie, writers Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze considered there to be enough mileage in the offensive octogenarian to fill out a feature-length film. Whether or not you agree depends on your tolerance for OAPs going OTT and if you prefer to watch your comedy through the gaps between your fingers.
The plot may be paper-thin – Zisman and his young grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) embark on a cross-country trip across America- but, in true Jackass style, the film revels in provoking the public through a combination of hidden cameras and elaborate pranks. Sounds a lot like Borat, don’t you think? Just as Sacha Baron Cohen’s clueless Kazakhstani could hide all manner of cruelty behind his excuse of being a foreigner, so too can Knoxville challenge America’s attitudes towards the elderly- while, of course, pushing the limits of decency in the process. After all, who would be heartless enough to hit an old man?
If the trailer below is anything to go by, then there is certainly no shortage of candidates willing to show Zisman the error of his ways: from the shopkeeper who catches him stuffing stock down his trousers to the roomful of wedding guests who, after Zisman ‘accidentally’ falls through a table, don’t know whether to pick him up or punch him. And, as the seemingly- fragile Zisman climbs aboard a children’s ride, only for it to buck like a bronco and throw him through a window, you really have to feel sorry for the screaming passers-by. Let’s hope that this – or any of the film, for that matter- isn’t staged; or at least one third of its tagline “Real people. Real reactions. Real messed up.” will be rendered a big, fat fib.
The grandfather/grandchild pairing looks set to be a successful double act: given their age and assumed innocence, both Irving and Billy are allowed the freedom to speak their minds. And so it’s no surprise to find that they’re often less than family friendly. Indeed, their spectacularly tasteless sabotage of a Carolina Cutie Pie beauty pageant is sure to be one of the film’s biggest talking points. If only Little Miss Sunshine hadn’t already got there first.
Nevertheless, those who have missed Jackass’ contribution to the cultural landscape of late will have reason to rejoice. Because, quite frankly, watching a man tear out his chest hair with super glue should be an annual treat.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is released on October 25, 2013.
This article was first posted on August 4, 2013