- Product Rating -

Dirty Grandpa

| May 19, 2016

Let’s get something clear straight away- the crowd that paid to see Robert DeNiro in The Intern should not be choosing the “Rent Now” option on their TV’s for his latest Dirty Grandpa.  Attempting to keep count of how many times DeNiro uses the F-word or various penis references is impossible.

Opening the film we see various childhood images of Jason (Zac Efron, Neighbors) with Dick (DeNiro) by his side.  This is director Dan Mazer’s tool to make us believe that they were once really close.  After the opening credits, we see the family at a funeral for Dick’s wife.  Jason is telling a joke that apparently is hilarious if you’re a well-educated person who enjoys playing “competitive racquetball against other young business associates,” according to Jason’s Zac Galifinakis-wannabe cousin Nick.  It is after this drawn out scene between Jason and Nick that DeNiro enters rocking a full beard and looking like a complete badass- this movie now has promise.  However, this beard is gone the next time we see Dick (which is also the same time we learn what a #3 is- one of the funniest and most shocking scenes in the movie). The filmmakers do a quick job to let us know that Dick’s wife has died of cancer.  The premise is that Dick needs Jason to drive him down to Boca, because that is what he and his wife do every year.  Of course we learn that this was a ploy for a greater reason, which I won’t spoil for you because it is pretty easy to ascertain for yourselves.

Jason is not eager to drive his once-close grandfather to Boca because he has his own wedding the next weekend and his bride (Julianne Hough) is for lack of a better word, controlling. It is because of this controlling fiancé  (with help from his feather) that we learn Jason has turned into a real square that looks like Prep School Ken. Dick consistently messes with Jason in an attempt to get him to loosen up, which at one point leads to a scene involving xanax, a bumblebee fannypack, and crack.

Efron’s most recent films have done a great job of showcasing his comedic timing, moving him beyond his High School Musical days (although he does throw it back to those with a karaoke scene that is quite lovely).  Unfortunately, Dirty Grandpa wasn’t his best choice.  He shines in those bro-mantic comedies like That Awkward Moment and even did great in Neighbors, but just falls flat with his performance here.  It might not even be through Efron’s own faults, but more an on-screen response to poor writing.

It is about three-quarters of the way through Dirty Grandpa that the film starts to find its heart, but for every great scene there are twice as many poorly executed ones.  It is as if the writers sat down and said “everyone throw in your idea for a ridiculous scenario we can put this grandfather and grandson into, and then we’ll just film them all and splice them together!”  While Efron and DeNiro eventually find their characters and start to own the roles and show some chemistry (I use this phrasing loosely), the supporting cast all seemed to have been told they should over-act ever piece of dialogue to really drive the point home that this is a movie with cliché characters and dirty words.

Ultimately Dirty Grandpa is nothing more than quasi-funny scenes that make a feeble attempt to make viewers care about Jason and Dick’s relationship.  We are meant to feel sorry for ex-Green Beret Dick who failed to raise a son he was proud of (despite him being a head in a large Atlanta law firm) and wants to save his grandson from that same fate.  If you’re looking for a cheap laugh then Dirty Grandpa might be the flick for you.  I’m not saying it doesn’t have its moments, because it does, but it isn’t enough to jump to modern comedy fame.

Dirty Grandpa is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital HD.

About the Author:

Mike works during the day in beautiful downtown Chicago as a Digital Sales Campaign Specialist and fights crime by night, stopping those who prey on the weak and the help-- no, he just watches movies. A lot of movies. Follow him on Twitter: @Mike_DaltonNAF
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