All Grown Up: How a ‘Jackass’ became a ‘Bad Grandpa’

If you have at least two decades under your belt, you’ve grown up with “Jackass.”  What originally started out as a sort of behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a skate video became a genre of television whose fan base was almost entirely made up of skaters. We all know the stars: Steve-O, Wee-Man, Ryan Dunn, Chris Pontius, and their countless friends with their masochistic ringleader, Johnny Knoxville.

The original show started out with the usual “guy gets hit in the balls,” and then they got some money and took their stunts abroad, where a guy could get hit in the balls in exotic locales such as Tokyo. Naturally, their stunts earned so much praise and capital that Dickhouse, their very own production company, was born. These cheeky shenanigans became well thought out masochistic plays where there would be a strategic amount of actors, bystanders, and a live bull thrown in the mix. We all participated in laughing at this pain fest, yet the victims obtained rockstar status, adorning GQ and Rolling Stone covers. There must be something of insight when a society’s jester is hoisted into hero status.

But as the show went on, one couldn’t help but notice the grey hairs, the aged and scarred skin, the substance abuse, and the tragic death of Ryan Dunn, all due to years of addiction to physical punishment in the form of entertainment. Yet with those consequences came rehabs, a branching out into more traditional acting roles, and a new “Jackass” in the form of “Bad Grandpa.”

Whether we like it or not, physical pranks have become such a part of our society that they not only dominate YouTube, but they win awards such as the Britannia Award Sacha Baron Cohen received for his social commentary through his pranks in which the actual comedy comes from the ignorant and bigoted responses from the prank victims rather than the guy simply pretending to be something absurd. “Bad Grandpa” follows suit by finding the majority of its comedy in situational humor stemming from the responses of the bystanders. This makes the latest “Jackass” the most sentimental of all the movies as the story is solely about an old man trying to come to terms with caring for his grandson.

The duo, while entertaining enough themselves, meet a truly one-of-a kind cast of bystanders from homophobic male strippers and obnoxiously bigoted beauty pageant moms to a biker gang who would literally kill a bad parent for an abused kid. So if you’ve always been a “Jackass” fan, or would like to give them and your delicate sensibilities another chance, “Bad Grandpa” is surprisingly one of the most wholesome and sentimental movies playing at the theater, making for a must-see viewing experience for all.

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