Bad Grandpa ★★½

There’s something you learn about people, something inherently genuine, when you catch their reactions in situations that take them entirely out of their comfort zones. There’s a few set pieces in this film that do a remarkable job of demonstrating the extremes of emotions such as shock, anger, and even compassion. And through the lenses of two age groups (an 8 year-old and a senile old man), it’s an impressive experiment to discover the balance between social tolerances and ageist taboos.

On the whole, however, it’s not a tremendous accomplishment. While I laughed more than I expected to, I certainly didn’t laugh as uncontrollably as I have in past Jackass experiences. The interstitial segments, which try to tie the stunts and candid segments together to create an actual narrative arc, feel tired and contrived in the same way that Sasha Baron Cohen films always do, and it’s completely unnecessary. We’re not here for plot.