Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa .5 (Jeff Tremaine, 2014) – Part of the bizarre tradition of Jackass feature film releases is that every movie gets a DVD loaded with deleted sequences as well as a second .5 release of additional deleted sequences cut together into a second feature film. You could easily write this process off as a gratingly greedy way to separate fans from their money were it not for the fact that the Jackass brand of stunt comedy requires so many bits to be filmed for 90s minutes of testicle torture gold. While the .5 releases never live up to the originals, they’re always worth a look for the lost souls like myself who unapologetically love Jackass. All of which brings us to Bad Grandpa .5, a release that’s similar, yet different. It is essentially an outtake reel, but also a little more than that, much like how Bad Grandpa itself is very much a Jackass movie, yet somewhat more. This is a collection of outtakes from the Oscar nominated hidden camera comedy that came out in theatres last year, as well as a documentary about the film’s unique production featuring hilariously honest interviews with collaborators Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze.
The flick opens with a fan-fucking-tastic faux-sitcom credits sequence pulling freeze-frame gags out of the hours of deleted scenes from Bad Grandpa. From there it translates into a talking heads piece with Tremaine, Jonze, and Knoxville talking about the history of their collective dirty old man Irving Zisman. It started as a handful of old man Jackass pranks made a reality when Jonze made friends with a professional make-up artist on the set of Three Kings. From there, the character evolved through the Jackass movies until the trio decided to make an entire movie based around the character. The doc serves to both show the ridiculous lengths the group went to make the movie on increasingly elaborate hidden camera set ups and as definitive proof that the crew had far too much fun making the movie for it to qualify as work.
Bad Grandpa .5 isn’t quite a movie, but it isn’t quite a cash grab either. This was a incredibly unique a experimental production in search of the world’s finest poops jokes, and it’s fascinating to watch it come together. Watching this doc is more interesting and hilarious than the usual DVD special feature and it’s edited in a way that feels like an actual movie. It’s a genuinely worthy release well worth picking up for anyone who is a fan of Bad Grandpa (which frankly should be everyone. It’s seriously a great flick).
Beyond all of the endlessly amusing behind-the-scenes stories, Bad Grandpa .5 is filled with hilarious outtakes and deleted scenes. Sometimes these bits get giggles from how wrong the stunt went, like numerous bits of miscommunication between Knoxville and the crew, or a handful a sequences that Catherine Keener shot as Knoxville’s wife. Keener is clearly game to dive into the filthy shenanigans, but is also a bit uncomfortable dealing with real people. The scenes are fun to watch, yet prove that Knoxville clearly has a gift with this brand of idiotic entertainment. Spike Jonze also shows up for a handful of sequences as one of Knoxville’s potential old lady loves. He’s got some great moments, but unfortunately many of his scenes were set up with craigslist dates who understandably didn’t want to give permission to be in the final film given that their old lady sex fetish was on full display. Other scenes like Knoxville splitting open a colostomy bag in a hot tub or the kid peeing on Santa’s lap were funny enough to be in Bad Grandpa, but deserved to be cut simply because Bad Grandpa did not need to be longer than 90 minutes.
The high def photography gets a boost on Blu-Ray, but it’s not exactly a showpiece disc. Yet, it’s worth picking up the Blu-Ray for the 20 minutes of extra interviews and 30 minutes of additional deleted scenes (whew! They shot a lot of footage for this movie and it was clearly worth the hundreds of man hours dedicated to sublime stupidity). Obviously this disc will appeal only to those who are already fans of Bad Grandpa, but it’s such a uniquely hilarious flick made by such a lovable batch of numbskulls that Bad Grandpa .5 has plenty of value. (Phil Brown)