Grandpas have never been this cool. Robert De Niro is pretty much the grandpa that most of us want to be when we grow older. Hot off his role in The Intern(a movie I enjoyed), Mr. De Niro returns to another movie that seems targeted for the young cinema goers. How can it not be aimed for young people when you have Zac Efron shirtless in every commercial? A lot of people like to give Zac Efron shit, but the guy has some acting chops. It’s not his fault that most of the movies he stars in happens to not be that good. In most movies he stars in(whether you liked it or not), Efron does great. So how would a comedy about an uptight lawyer and his raunchy grandpa play out? It may not be perfect, but it’s enjoyable and fun.
The film starts off with Robert De Niro’s character’s wife passing. He then asks his grandson(Zac Efron) to go with him from Atlanta to Boca Raton – a tradition that he and his wife have done for years and years. The only problem is that Jason(Efron) is getting married the following week and this trip may get in the way of his fiancee(Julianne Hough)’s plans. But of course he feels bad for his gramps and decides to go with him to help him out. Turns out that Dick(De Niro) had a hidden agenda – to go to Datona Beach and have sex with as many girls as he possibly can. Not your average grandpa.
The chemistry between De Niro and Efron was not as good as I thought it’d be, but it’s not that bad. Some of the jokes(if not most) that De Niro says feels forced and is a miss, but for every twenty misses – we get one funny one. Clearly it is not De Niro’s fault as he is obviously having fun on camera, I blame the guy that thinks cursing automatically makes a joke funny. We get it, Zac Efron’s character lets his fiancee run his life, but does he consistantly have to be called a “pussy” every 3 minutes? But hey, some of the stuff that makes me laugh might not make you laugh and vice versa. There is a hilarious scene where Efron walks in on De Niro masturbating to porn a day after the funeral. We also get a decent performance out of Aubrey Plaza(someone I’m a huge fan of) who plays a college student hell bent on having sex with De Niro.
Zac Efron once again was great in a movie that should have been a lot better. As soon as you see how his fiancee treats him, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that he doesn’t end up with her by the end. And if you call that a spoiler – you are an idiot. I mean if you didn’t see that coming, you probably didn’t see Simba becoming king by the end of Lion King. Efron has great comedic timing which showed up here, but wasn’t as superior to his role in Neighbors. I did think it was hilarious during the party scene where he is seen doing the Macarena and smoking crack(thinking it was a weed pen). His side romance with his former high school classmate(Zoey Deutch) didn’t seem to be believable to me. It’s like the studio wanted us to believe that they barely knew eachother in high school, and then all of a sudden fall in love. They should have just made her his old high school girlfriend instead of a random classmate.
The main problem I had with Dirty Grandpa was that it lacked heart. You have a grandpa who wants to be young again, a guy who is secretly unhappy with his life, and that’s about it. The movie is predictable. But even then I felt like at some points of the movie, the film was confused about when to be funny or when to be serious. I don’t blame De Niro or Efron at all for the movie being mediocre because they are the reason this movie is even watchable to begin with. We do get a funny karaoke scene where De Niro raps Ice Cube’s “Today Was A Good Day”, and Efron shows us that he still has some song left in him years after High School Musical. So because I feel that Efron and De Niro gave it their best with a poorly written movie that somehow gave me a handful of laughs, I give Dirty Grandpa a generous 4/10.
Written by Teejay McFly.