Not as funny as it thinks it is, although there are laughs to be had here despite the failure of some elaborate set pieces.
Instead, the comedy comes mostly from the smaller things. The interactions with people, the throwaway comments, the turns of phrase Knoxville uses. Those work well, and it’s fun to see him inhabit a character so fully.
You can’t fill a film with that stuff though and as a whole this just didn’t pan out that well. It’s a character from a sketch, and unsuprisingly the act quickly gets old. There’s some novelty in the way they try to string together all the skits with a plot line, but it’s flimsy and hard to really get onboard with.
I speak as a closet fan of the first three Jackass films; this is almost the opposite of what Jackass is. Everything feels so controlled and thought out, the feeling of nervous unpredictablity is gone. Part of the fun was that you were seeing something done for the first time, and nobody knew what was going to happen. Bad Grandpa is new material, but it’s so repetitive that there’s no spontaneity. It’s an old guy with a witty kid saying lewd things to members of the public. There’s only so many ways that can play out and they are exhausted 20 minutes in.
The Oscar nod for make up was probably well deserved but if you’re after something funny, look elsewhere.