Dan Mazer's Dirty Grandpa is a passable dose of R-rated raunch, thanks to two energetic performances from Robert De Niro and Zac Efron. It's dirty, low-brow and occasionally hilarious.
Dirty Grandpa is as offensive, raunchy and downright wrong as it looks and that’s also kind of what makes it work. Dan Mazer‘s latest R-rated comedy, featuring a dirty-minded Robert De Niro and a straight-laced Zac Efron successfully manages to cross that absurd line for any of its gags, as long as you chuckle at least once. It clears the low bar set for it, delivering to its audiences an amusing and entertaining way to watch De Niro drop the F bomb, while of course giving Efron yet another excuse to take off his shirt.
Dirty Grandpa follows an uptight lawyer named Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) as he takes his grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) on one last quick bonding road trip.
Jason is a pushover — the type that does what he’s told because it makes sense. He’s followed in his boring father’s footsteps his whole life, passing a chance at becoming a photographer in exchange for a slot at his father’s law firm. He also happens to be marrying one of the firm’s partners’ daughter in a week, because it pleases everyone involved, despite Jason’s own lack of excitement or involvement in anything.
Jason’s grandpa Dick recently lost his wife and now he’s got a sudden urge to live again, which may or may not involve getting laid for the first time in twenty years. Yeah, it’s a sort of disturbing concept, but it makes sense for a man that’s been faithful to his wife since they married and is now alone, confused and facing death almost with open arms.
Dick needs Jason to take him on this trip so that the both of them can live once again.
Dan Mazer‘s Dirty Grandpa isn’t going to win any points for originality or most heartfelt story, but it gets the job done as an R-rated comedy that’s full of raunch, inappropriate humor and a side of both De Niro and Efron that we haven’t seen before.
De Niro is in full-on filth mode as he curses, drinks and tries to have sex with everything that he can get his hands on. A lot of people complain about De Niro’s lack of quality over the past few decades, but credit must be given to Dirty Grandpa for giving him a role that he at least seems generally interested and invested in. He gives audience members a different side of him that we probably never wanted to see, but at least it’s funny in moments, if not always creating a somewhat uncomfortable situation. I respect De Niro’s ability to stretch his acting talents to such highs and lows, even if he hasn’t done something truly great in years.
Zac Efron comes in on the other side of the equation playing a walking stereotype of what most people think he really is. It’s funny watching him inadvertently dress and act like a preppy douchebag and then it’s even kind of rewarding watching his character naturally progress and reveal his true intentions.
It’s not the deepest transition or even a great one, but Dirty Grandpa does try to be about a little more than just R-rated humor full of sex, drugs, booze and profanity.
It does feature a lot of that too though and it’s mostly a funny ride that tries a bit too hard to cross that line, while occasionally crossing the line with style and sophistication.
I laughed at several points during Dirty Grandpa, which in my eyes means that the film was a success. It accomplished what it set out to do, which was to make people laugh at its inappropriate premise and plot. Does it occasionally become something better? Yeah, it does. But does it also fall flat on its face with some of its low-brow humor? Most definitely.
Dirty Grandpa doesn’t exactly feel like a January dump film that Lionsgate had no faith in, but instead a dark comedy that isn’t afraid to show its balls, even if those balls don’t always need to be shown. I feel like most will find this one down the road on Redbox and be surprised with how funny it can be at times. I also feel like they’ll quickly forget it, but never dislike it.
Dirty Grandpa is amusing, entertaining and sometimes effective as an R-rated comedy rarely afraid to push buttons and go for that all-out gag. It doesn’t always benefit from going too far, but it’ll make you shake your head and laugh at some point, guaranteed.