Bad Grandpa is a tender story about fishing – but only after throwing grandma’s corpse off a bridge.

These films, or rather hidden camera stunts intermingling with an intrusive plot, take work. So much of the effort comes across as flawless and cheaply crass, yet behind them is a genuine affection for the crude. It is too easy to forget someone had to create a stretchy, flaccid penis to go inside a pop machine, let alone the generous camera angles to keep it up visually, uh, “exciting.”

But that’s Bad Grandpa, flexing the muscle of Johnny Knoxville’s abrasively raw TV character into feature length, years out from Sacha Baron Cohen’s rush to theaters in Borat. Thematically, the humor has not changed. However, unlike Cohen who often directly invests the character into rambunctious scenarios, Knoxville is content with letting reactions play. It is a hands off approach which can wane in execution – without social protocols, people freeze. There are only so many wide-eyed stares and agape jaws before limitations set in.

However, Bad Grandpa’s ruckus is no less endearing. Knoxville’s stunts are patently ludicrous, with inherent lasting shock value embedded into each. None of them overstay their presence, with cautious editing clipping sequences down to minimal snippets to keep comedic bursts flowing. Execution which fails, say a grocery store shoplifting run, are periods meant for relief. Bad Grandpa needs to fail for the laughing health of its audience.

Threaded into the mix is a dismal cross-country road trip plot, something to back the stunt design. Irving (Knoxville) needs to deliver his grandson to his father, and over the course of their unacceptable beer swilling adventure, they grow an embarrassingly predicable (if hilarious because of its nonsense) bond. Sometimes, it takes dead grandma in a trunk for people to find their connecting points.

Either you delight at the sight of simulated projectile diarrhea splattering on a restaurant wall in the midst of a public fart competition or you don’t; that’s where Bad Grandpa is going. This is one unafraid of hitting the center of the Jackass audience, swell for those used to the near suicidal idiocy on display, not so much for everyone else. There’s the warning some may have been searching for.

If it works, it’s shamelessly blissful comedy. Unrestrained humor slinks into a comfortable groove of sexual advances, blips of racism, and a kid breaking boundaries unfit for someone under 10. Swinging and sagging testicles have their place, and they could never find a better home than Bad Grandpa. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]

He hit a penguin @ 58:20

It is not often you’ll find these words gracing DoBlu, but Bad Grandpa’s mixture of uber low grade digital footage and minimal involvement of high grade cameras leads to one conclusion: You’re safe with the DVD if you don’t mind missing the unrated cut. Little here says, “See me in HD,” especially as noisy security cameras provide the bulk of the footage.

Initial shots are hazed with noise exceeding usual boundaries, and processing strikes up halos in at least half of the footage. Focus is clearly done on the fly without much adherence to quality. It’s the stunts that matter after all, not how they look.

At its peak, there is some appreciation for clarity. Oscar-nominated make-up shows through briefly (wholly believable too) and some exteriors are naturally appealing. When sharpness hits its ceiling, Bad Grandpa is all over glossy, digital fidelity. Unfortunately, that runs about 12-minutes of this hidden camera offering.

Paramount’s encode does… stuff. It appears to be topped off without any additional intrusion, even if the noise appears so thick some compression could be embedded. No one would tell anyway. Color grading and black levels are there without being offensive, so take it as is. At least something came away unscathed. Bad Grandpa looks as it was shot: off the cuff with whatever was available. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]

Strip clubs bump up the audio, a thick bass line running underneath those charged scenes and even a little surround work kicks in. There is some life to the DTS-HD mix, while much of it is limited to the live action. Only Knoxville is wired for much of the piece.

Post processing fixes what was surely muddy source material. Dialog raises for audible purposes, creating fluctuations, but like the video it’s expected. This is not a home theater work out and considering the conditions, it’s hard to argue how it turned out. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]

The disc does not offer much although this is a case of quality over quantity. In the case of Borat, none of the features showed the post-stunt reactions. Bad Grandpa is all over it. Scenes of people winding down from the chaos and being asked to sign releases are critical to establishing not only the work involved, but also authenticity. Behind-the-scenes on all of the major stunts splits into eight parts for 35-minutes of material. Everything from set-up to interviews with the accomplished crew are covered.

A series of alternate takes, about 20 minutes worth, split into six scenes and almost all of them are ready for the finished film. Three separate deleted scenes are brief at six minutes. The disc also houses an extended cut which runs ten minutes longer and is unrated. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

2 thoughts on "Bad Grandpa Blu-ray Review"

  1. Phantom Stranger says:

    Target has an exclusive edition for Bad Grandpa floating around at their stores. They include a talking bottle opener with it, I kid you not.

    1. Matt Paprocki says:

      The review copy came with a bingo marker adorned with logos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *