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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa (2013) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013). Co-written and directed by Jeff Tremaine. The film starts with the wife of 86-year old Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) having passed away. Zisman is glad to be rid of her, and plans on living it up, but then his crack addict daughter is arrested, and dumps his grandson on him while she goes to prison. Zisman manages to persuade his grandson's deadbeat dad to take him, particularly when the dad discovers he can get money for looking after him. So a road trip ensues to take him to the dad. Bad Grandpa takes the Johnny-Knoxville-in-old-man-make-up-doing-outrageous-things idea from Jackass, and tries to turn it into a film. It links the outrageous stunts performed with an unsuspecting public with a number of more heartfelt (well, slightly more heartfelt) sections between the grandfather and grandson. They do a fairly reasonable joke of making a lot of sub-jokes from what's a one joke plot, and for me at least the results varied from zero laughs to literal laugh out loud's, mostly veering towards the latter. For me overall it was a watchable film, albeit slightly confusing with the mix of the two styles. Those who aren't fans of Jackass and/or that style of humour should avoid. 3/5 (Average)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013). Based on the short story by James Thurber, and directed by Ben Stiller. Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a dreamer, and also a Negative Assets Manager at Life magazine. He has a crush on Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) who also works at the magazine, but he's too shy to tell her. When a vital negative goes missing Mitty decides to finally have some adventure in his life, so he travels to Greenland in an effort to find it. When I saw the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a few weeks back I did wonder if it was going to be too twee, and it does tread a fine line between that and charming. During the good bits though it feels heartfelt, and Mtty's dream sequences are also fun. I like Stiller, even though he's rather overused, so that helps. There's also a couple of heavy bits of product placement, which tread a fine line between making the film feel plausible, and plain advertising. For those who don't mind a slightly saccharine romcom, which is definitely a bit different to most romcoms out there (and more road trip), it's definitely worth a watch. 4/5 (Good)