Dirty Grandpa – Film Review
By looking at the title, you get a fairly good idea of what this movie might be about. The story line does not hold back on the predictability either. This film is one of those ridiculously outrageous films that is set up to have you laughing out of shock; and if you laugh out of disgust, even better.
After the death of his wife, Dick Kelly (Robert De Niro) persuades his button down lawyer grandson, Jason, (Zach Efron) to drive him (up/down) to Florida so he can finally build up the heart to say goodbye to his beloved wife. The soon-to-be-married lawyer later gets an experience he did not sign up for when he learns that his grandfather’s main goal is to drive to Daytona Beach for a wild spring break and get laid at least once before he dies.
Like listening to a joke that has been told many times by that drunk uncle at a dinner party, do not expect anything new to deliver the punchline but that same old tired joke. Dirty Grandpa is filled with a lot of sexism, obscene incidents, blackouts and offensive humour that has, of course, been fuelled by too much liquor. Only in this movie, dear old Grandpa is the one sticking his thumb up buttholes and spiking drinks with Xanax pills – this, apparently, is where the story gets its edge.
This is obviously a film for people with an acquired taste for this kind of humour. If you are one to get easily offended … this film is probably targeted at you too, but just out of spite. So we can already sense that this film would be a waste of time for those who do not take pokes at prison rape and child molestation lightly. The real question is, for those who find that kind of thing hilarious; is this movie even worth your time.?
You definitely get some moments where the comedic beats hit their mark. Efron and De Niro perform surprisingly well together as grandfather and grandson, so the punchlines are delivered smoothly without the distraction of awkwardness on screen. It is in the plot development where this movie really takes the plunge down the toilet.
A film like this does not need to put a lot of emphasis on finding any kind of deeper meaning, but this one tries quite hard to include it as a main feature. But this is not done in a novel way; therefore much of the comedy is cheap, second hand and recycled. Most of the characters are so one-dimensional that you would probably have a good shot at mouthing some of the lines if you bothered to watch the film a second time around.
When the movie takes on a more introspective turn, it is the most clichéd turn in the history of all genres. Even your typical Disney film produces a more anticipating build-up towards a climax. In Dirty Grandpa, it is completely absent. There is no ultimate message.
For me, the highlight of the movie is the first time they go off on one of their wild antics, and getting to see Zach Efron’s nearly naked body. Yes, some parts are very amusing, but there is more formula than there is funny. There is no denying that you can get a few good laughs out of it; but the prerequisite to getting any kind of enjoyment is to keep your expectations fairly low.