Starring: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Zoey Deutch
After the funeral of his grandmother, uptight and clean cut lawyer Jason (Effron) is asked by his grandfather Dick (De Niro) to drive him to Florida one week before his wedding. However, Jason soon discovers that his grandfather is a lecherous, dirty old man wanting to go to Daytona Beach and enjoy spring break and is soon forced to join him in what turns out to be a life changing experience for both of them.
It is of course perfectly understandable for actors that have had long and distinguished careers in which they have not only appeared in some of the greatest films of all time, but also brought us some of the most memorable and iconic film characters ever to grace the big screen to want to have some fun in their older years. Well, Robert De Niro is justifiably regarded by many the greatest actor of all time, but let’s face it that in last decade he has made some ‘interesting’ choices. In fact in my countdown of big name actors that now turn up in predominantly bad films he was top (to see that depressing list of shame click here).
Now, I understand that some actors need to keep on being in films, as this is their job and they don’t know what to do with themselves if not acting. For every Daniel Day-Lewis who does a film ever few years and gets an Oscar, we get Nicolas Cage who will turn up in anything, and has been quoted as saying that he just wants to be working. However, surely any actor, let alone Robert De Niro can maybe occasionally pick and choose their roles. Bob of course wanted to flex his comedy muscles and so turned up in the like of Analyse This and Meet the Parents, nothing wrong with that, however it seems that he did not learn his lesson after the embarrassingly bad Last Vegas and Dirty Grandpa represents a new low. Surely the clue was in the title before you even read the script Bob?!? There are moments in Dirty Grandpa that are simply embarrassing to watch due to what Robert De Niro ends up saying or doing.
Predictably, Dirty Grandpa is just another film to add to the ever increasing list of crude and nasty mainstream comedies that simply go for the very lowest common denominator and insult the intelligence of the average sentient film fan. Crude humour can of course work if there is some level of underlying observation or intelligence to it, but in Dirty Grandpa it is just lazy and crude for the sake of it. What makes matters worse is that it not only stars one of the greatest actors of all time, but also does waste some the talents of some other very talented actors.
The story is of course as predictable as can be expected, and this total laziness in the storytelling just makes it impossible to engage with, or indeed care about, any of the characters or the story as a whole. Of course the overall narrative is both predictable and wafer thin, and all we get is a series of nasty, and almost embarrassing to watch ‘comic’ set pieces that go on for too long. In fact, the film is so bad and cringe inducing it is difficult to avoid laughing AT it at times and just the ridiculousness of the situation that a film like this can even exist.
Of course I have said all that is needed to be said about De Niro, but Zac Efron needs to have a long, hard think about his career; there was a point when he started to broaden his pallet as an actor and be in a few interesting films like Me & Orson Wells or The Paperboy, but now he seems content to star in middle of the road, mainstream romantic films or comedies like this. This is a real waste as he can be a very engaging and charismatic screen presence, and there does seem to be an element of screen chemistry between Efron and De Niro, it is just a shame the script they are given is vile. Well, next on the horizon for Efron is the Baywatch remake, so I am sure that will be wonderful and I am sure he won’t get topless at any point!
From start to finish, Dirty Grandpa is a horrible viewing experience; the narrative is painfully predictable and the hideous, and often nasty dialogue that the characters have to deliver makes for a viewing experience that is equally depressing, infuriating and cringe-inducing. Why Bob? Why?