Posted February 23, 2016
By YUNA JO
There is absolutely no doubt that Robert De Niro is an amazing actor. There is also no doubt that his latest movie, “Dirty Grandpa,” is the worse movie in which he’s ever been featured.
It isn’t the script, the foul-mouthed characters or the awkward sex scene between De Niro and Plaza that hinders the film from becoming its best potential, but it is rather the weak direction by Dan Mazer and writing by John Phillips that squanders the Oscar-winning De Niro and Disney icon Zac Efron.
The story closely follows Dick, an senior citizen portrayed by De Niro, who loses his wife to cancer. After staying celibate for 15 years, he tries to desperately hop back on the train (and women) to sleep with a college girl, Lenore, portrayed by Plaza.
Dick tricks his stuck-up grandson, Jason, portrayed by Efron, into a wild road trip down to Florida with him to achieve his goal and maybe (certainly) party along the way for spring break’s sake.
Heads up: it includes bar fights, college parties and everything in between. This gets Jason into trouble; however, for it takes place dangerously close to his upcoming wedding.
But it’s not just the plot that’s insane, it’s also the unbelievable characters. De Niro’s character was over-the-top inappropriate that felt extremely strained, as if every word that he spoke was meant to force maximum laughter. Even his personality is an overplay — a racist, homophobic and a sexist old man who curses every two minutes that tries to sleep with young women?
It seems like the writers all sat down to write down all the inappropriate qualities a person can have and compressed them all into the character of Dick. And then asked the wrong award-winning actor to bring the character to life. It almost makes us all question how all these well-known actors decided to be in the movies in the first place.
Although the film had decently funny moments at certain points, the jokes went out of control in an attempt to be unnecessarily edgy — like the intense jokes on child molestation, jailhouse rape, roofie-ing and even the use of the “N” word (there was also a scene with a Nazi swastika and male privates, I swear I’m not making this up).
Most of the humor, if not all, is offensive to anyone of any background. Mistakenly and awkwardly placed in the wrong movie, these jokes does not serve their purpose of cracking up the audience.
The entire point of this film is for the grandfather and his grandson to rediscover themselves and their relationship through a (rather rowdy) road trip that seems initially pointless, but later turns into a heart-warming tale of two men. In short, it’s a boy’s club.
Every female appearance in the movie is accompanied by chest display or cursing, not to mention that every single one of them falls into one these categories: the virgin, (Jason’s college love interest, Shadia), the slut (Lenore) and the b*tch (Jason’s crazy fiancé, Meredith). How convenient. Every woman in this film is used for a prop for the progression of the bigger story, Dick and Jason’s road trip that is also meant to be a metaphorical trip down their relationship.
If you still want to view De Niro as the wonderful actor he once was (or still is deep down), then I suggest that you stay home and re-watch an old movie instead of going to see this film. Chances are, you’re not going to want to hear him say “butt f—“ or the N word because you want to remember him as graceful actor on screen he used to be. Don’t bother ruining your image of him. Trust me.
Unfortunately, Mazer and Phillips missed their chance to make something successfully hilarious out of the wonderful cast they hired — like “The Hangover” or “Bridesmaids.” But this movie makes the “The Hangover” seem classy in comparison and that’s saying something.
In an attempt to cross lines and be the next edgy comedy film, “Dirty Grandpa” ended up being mediocre at best and borderline offensive at worst. Brutally stale and frequently bad in taste, the only good thing about this film is the cast they’ve managed to gather (and Zac Efron’s topless body)j. So, if you’re planning on watching this movie (really?), prepare yourself to (a) not laugh at all, (b) be offended or (c) both at the same time.
- Title: “Dirty Grandpa”
- Release Date: Jan. 22, 2016
- Runtime: 102 minutes
- Starring: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza
- Director: Dan Mazer
- Production Company: Ninjas Runnin’ Wild Productions
- MPAA Rating: R
- Reviewer Rating 2/5 stars