“You’re like the Terminator of cock blocking. They should have set you back instead of Arnold, and you would have cock blocked Jon Conner’s mom and he would have never been born.”
Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss’s controlling daughter, putting him on the fast track for a partnership at his firm. Tricked by his grandfather Dick (Robert DeNiro), Jason finds himself driving the foul mouthed old man to Daytona Beach, Fla., for a wild spring break that includes frat parties, bar fights and an epic night of karaoke. While Jason worries about the upcoming wedding, Dick tries to show his grandson how to live life to the fullest.
Comedy is a difficult and very subjective genre. Dirty Grandpa, will undoubtedly find an audience, if not because of it’s A list stars, then for it’s overtly offensive comedic timing that will surely hit with some and completely shatter the souls of others. Dirty Grandpa is without question one of the most politically incorrect, and outlandish comedies likely to be seen by mass audiences. The only comparison that can be made is to the new school of National Lampoon movies lambasted with gratuitous nudity and tons of gross out humor. Dirty Grandpa is offensive at every turn and no race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation appears to be safe at any point. Even with the barrage of derogatory jokes, it actually finds a way to be entertaining, due in large part to the charismatic performances of it’s two leads.
Zac Efron has to have one of the most frustrating careers on the planet. He is quite talented, and if you don’t believe that to be true, check out films like Me and Orson Welles, or Paperboy, but he settles on these frat boy roles in these ridiculous comedies. Sure Neighbors was great, but for every one of those we get a That Awkward Moment, or The Lucky One. Efron needs to fire his agent, because his stint in Dirty Grandpa is more of the same. He is left with another shallow character, written into a corner that no great performer could possibly work around, yet Efron actually elevates the role to it’s summit. Make no mistake, Dirty Grandpa is constantly picking the low hanging fruit, which is the poison apple in comedy. Laced with smorgasbord of innuendo and hedonistic and poorly timed jokes, this is the easy bet to offend everyone. It is vulgar, and not always funny, and it certainly is not intelligent enough to tell when it is being which. The film starts off on a particularly low note, and never really rises above it’s sadly childish story. A new low point to see Robert DeNiro proudly masterbating on film, then brushing it off as “taking a number 3.”
There is no workaround to a bad script in comedy. If the story is not serviceable and the
jokes are not funny, than the performers, especially the ones that aren’t comedians, can’t be expected to work miracles. Even with that said, it seems at times, that Efron and DeNiro do. A true sign of boorishly adolescent humor is when the running joke throughout the film sees DeNiro constantly sticking a thumb up Efron’s backside. The film, or should we say the performers, find a way to cut through the malaise in some moments to provide some sincerity and some honest entertainment, in spite of a script that is trying so hard to quall any real laughs. DeNiro and Efron dive in and really commit to their roles, but the problem is they are committing to horribly written, dreadful roles, meant to be offensive at a all costs.
Dirty Grandpa gets worse and worse the lower it sinks, and it sinks to the bottom. It is a non stop test of willpower to remain seated while being bombarded with unfunny, offensive, and mean spirited comedy that isn’t smart enough to know when it’s clearly gone too far. Most of Dirty Grandpa will leave you cringing, and after credits role, reflecting on the life choices that led you to be sitting in this theater having just paid money to be offended. This film is indefensibly bad most of the time, yet still finds a way to be marginally entertaining some of the time. It is a less thoughtful version of American Pie for senior citizens. This is a tedious, raunchy and heartless comedy that aims for shock value in place of real laughs or emotional connections. It spends so much time trying to be like a Wedding Crashers, that it doesn’t realize it forgot to be funny. Dirty Grandpa is unapologetically lowbrow, but again, it still manages to have some entertainment value on the backs of its stars. So if you would like to spend roughly 90 minutes being offended and disgusted, but somehow a little entertained, then look no further. This however is not a film that will condone repeat viewings.
2.2/5 Do Better Bro