You pretty much get what you ask for when you go into a movie titled “Dirty Grandpa.” While it may star one of the greatest actors of all time as well as one of the best young stars of today who has proven himself to be a great comedic actor, the movie feels like it’s a 102 minute long bad joke. I also couldn’t help but notice how the humor and level of filmmaking made me feel like I was watching some bad National Lampoon straight to DVD film from 2002. Besides Robert De Niro and Zac Efron having a few scenes of chemistry, the movie unfortunately had me shocked in disbelief at just how every joke seemed to get worse and worse, leaving me completely dumbfounded how this movie got made in the first place.
As movie goers, 90% of comedies come with a warranted, hard R rating that lets them really push the envelope and go all out with their humor. Looking back now at films like Neighbors, The Hangover, This is the End, Pineapple Express, etc, it really makes me wonder how anyone thought a scene of Zac Efron simply smoking crack shirtless was meant to be hilarious in any way. From all the big comedic moments to all the little jokes that are supposed to make us laugh from scene to scene it all felt so unbearable to watch. You’d think, or at least hope there’s at least some sort of story or small amount of heart here that movies like even American Pie provide. Sadly, there’s about as much heart in this film as there is in American Pie 5: The Naked Mile.
The plot of the film is quite simple, which often works for the these types of comedies. Efron is a young and upcoming lawyer who wears nothing but Polo T-shirts and has the biggest collection of ascots I’ve ever seen. Even I think I’d rather see him shirtless than wearing an ascot. He’s clearly that boring friend who went on to take the job because he thought work was life. His fiancé is played by the amazing Julliane Hough, but she is no girl next door as she clearly runs all over Efron and treats him like a doormat a mere week before their wedding. When De Niro enters the picture his wife of 40 years has passed away and his sole wish is for Efron and himself to spend the weekend together. So a road trip begins and of course things go wrong when Grandpa just wants to party and get laid.
Most of us have that crude grandpa that can often be raunchy to the point it’s uncomfortable but one would think the film would utilize that in a funny way. De Niro is almost never funny. Him wanting to sleep with a young girl is funny at first but when he jokes about it the entire time it gets old and often creepy really fast. There really is no plot and while that’s typically ok, it’s not here. Neighbors has a plot believe it or not. It has the minimal amount. When you get older don’t be stuck up and when your young you have to let the party stop or find a combination. Here it’s like let’s have sex with younger chicks. Oh, I guess that’s not ok?
Somehow the cast gets stopped in Daytona Beach on Spring Break, of course, and after way too much swearing and nudity I drew a line at what’s funny and what’s just a gross gag for a laugh. There’s not one set piece or even memorable moment. On a road trip we meet all kinds of cliche characters. We get the super horny gay guy, the slutty girl who wants to have sex or talks about sex all the time, the Abercrombie model bad guy, a hipster whose genuinely offended at the term “Hakki sack”, and finally the love interest for Efron who loves not living on a schedule and being wild, etc. It’s literally every cliche character you’ve ever seen that honestly makes me mad at the complete lack of originality.
All in all, for some reason you have to throw a couple points to the film because of how much fun the cast seems to be having. Even though the movie ends up not telling a story or it rushes any point in the last 5 minutes, it looks as if the cast had a blast especially 90’s go to Dermot Mulroney. This is something I love about cinema. Even in a bad movie it’s always nice to see actors we love, even if this was seeing way more of Efron than I personally wanted to having fun. It’s funny to see De Niro talk the way he does at times just because it’s him. I can’t say I’m dumber having watched the film. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen because I did walk out with my buddy Floyd kinda laughing while pointing out how bad it was but nice to see. It’s nice to see actors having fun as an audience member because you get into the film more. Even a Efron/De Niro shirtless dance off wasn’t funny but it was fun to see them do it. I definitely recommend this for a Netflix viewing at some point but this one is not a trip really worth taking.
Review by Kory Davis