Dirty Grandpa Review: De Niro falls hard. So hard.

Chad White
Loves: Bobby D, my main man Zac, Hey Nongman, Aubrey and the dude from Happy Endings
Likes: Movies based in Atlanta
Dislikes: The beach
Hates: This movie

Seriously, don’t go see this movie.

Here’s a reenactment of how I assume Robert De Niro signed on for this movie:

De Niro: “I want to be in a raunchy movie.”
Manager: “Okay. How about this one about a grandpa that’s dirty and stuff?”
De Niro: “Kay.”

That’s it. There was no afterthought, no forethought and definitely no regular thinking when it came to making this movie. I’m not going to dress it up. Dirty Grandpa is real trash. Its story is stale and overwrought with the jumbled exposition of a movie produced by Crackle. There are drawn out scenes that seem to regress in terms of character development. And, quite frankly, none of the jokes land the way they’re expected to. It may seem like I’m being harsh – I’m actually holding back – but Dirty Grandpa is so bad it makes me feel sorry for those involved. With all of the star power it bolsters and a setting ripe for “old man on the beach jokes,” Dirty Grandpa wastes pretty much everything it has been allotted.

The story follows De Niro as a man who just lost his wife. He manages to trick his grandson into spending the weekend with him in Florida for one last party. Along the way they meet Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch who play de facto love interests. Efron struggles with falling in love with Deutch while also having a fiancée (albeit a very mean one) in Julianne Hough at home. De Niro wants to do sexual tings with Plaza but has war based secrets of his own that prevent him from fully interacting with her. Other characters include Adam Pally as Efron’s cousin, Jason “Hey Nongman” Mantzoukas as a drug dealer and Dermot Mulroney as De Niro’s son/Efron’s father. Pally, Plaza, and Mantzoukas do an exceptional job with what they’re given. They’re improvisers and their characters stand tall comically above the dry state of the others.

For a movie that was featured on The Black List, Dirty Grandpa seems to be the bottom of the barrel. Writer John M. Phillips’ first attempt at a feature is admirable but lacking. Almost nothing is funny, a trait that a comedy movie direly needs. But he can’t be fully to blame (I’m sure he’s a funny guy; he just sold a comedy to NBC). Efron and De Niro give half efforts as they jaunt up and down what we’re told is the beach and Atlanta. Plaza seems to be the only one who gets it. She’s so out of place as a character – her one liners in particular are just the best – that she’s able to elevate the movie out of the depths of complete shittiness. Director Dan Mazer, who had a hand in a ton of Sacha Baron Cohen joints including the Oscar nominated Borat, seemingly slapped the movie together with bandaids. There’s uneven pacing and missed timing on jokes. Some character interactions even play out as “jump cut-athons” with faces or positons not even being established as jokes are rushed out in a vomit inducing pace.

Should you watch Dirty Grandpa?

I’d usually reserve judgement until the end of the review but this movie is a special case. From the get go, I warned you not to watch this movie. Don’t even wait for it to hit Redbox, HBO or a streaming service. Don’t hate watch it with a bunch of friends. It’s not worth it. Dirty Grandpa is a waste of time.

Notes

  • Zoey Deutch is going to have a very big career. I don’t know what it is about her but she’s going to be huge. She’s got four more movies coming out in 2016 alone and she’s costarring in a movie with Bryan Cranston and James Franco. Good for her.
  • Efron sings in this movie probably for the first time since High School Musical. It’s a fun-ish scene. He’s also shirtless a few times.
  • Plaza is a real class act here. She twerks on De Niro, talks incessantly about her vagina and is all around a delight. She really saved this movie.
  • I will forever love Adam Pally and Jason Mantzoukas. Those guys know how to make things funny.