“Dirty Grandpa” tells the story of Dick Kelly (Robert De Niro), an elderly man who lost his wife to cancer and wants to take a road trip. Because his driver’s license is revoked, though, he asks his uptight grandson Jason (Zac Efron) to drive him, despite the fact that it will take Jason away from his wedding planning and his job as a corporate lawyer.
What seems to be just a short, simple vacation turns into a crazy party, through, as Dick brings Jason to the heart of Spring Break in Florida.
This movie certainly lives up to its title of “Dirty Grandpa,” because it holds absolutely zero punches. It is vulgar, raunchy, shocking, profane, and in some scenes it actually does work. The movie takes the approach of throwing as much mud at the wall as it can with the hope that something sticks, and while there are tons of misses, there are also a few hits with some of the humor being funny.
With that said the movie as a whole is still pretty poor, mainly for its clichéd story that goes along all the familiar beats. There is the uptight fiancé who isn’t right for the protagonist, the new love interest, a misunderstanding that causes the characters to fight before a deus ex machina happens. It’s all there and it makes the film feel longer than its 102 minute runtime implies.
As for the acting, true to his craft, Robert De Niro completely becomes the Dirty Grandpa, for sometimes better but most of the time for worse. Like much of the humor in the movie, De Niro tries to deliver comedy a mile a minute, a few scenes work, others don’t. There were certainly some parts, a scene where De Niro’s character is singing an Ice Cube song, for example, that did make me laugh, though.
Zac Efron on the other hand was a bit weaker in the movie, playing the uptight guy who doesn’t like to party or get too crazy. It’s a character we’ve seen before, such as Ed Helms in “The Hangover.” What ends up helping his character, though, is the fact that Efron does have a solid comedic chemistry with De Niro.
However, the rest of the characters are annoying at best and unbearable at worst. There are two bumbling police officers played by Mo Collins and Henry Zebrowski, a stupid cousin of Jason’s played by Adam Pally and a hyper drug dealer portrayed by Jason Mantzoukas, and they all heavily overstay their welcome. As with other parts of the film, it makes the movie seem longer than it is.
“Dirty Grandpa” is for the most part a pretty bad movie. The film goes on a little too long, overplays some drama, it has annoying characters and not all the humor hits. With that said, the movie does have enough humor and De Niro is entertaining enough for this one to get streamed. 2 out of 5.