26 May 2016 | Screen_Blitz
Occasionally funny but an odd attempt to establish a mismatched comedic duo
It's not uncommon for Hollywood's A-list stars like to be handed to highly questionable projects, films that leave you asking "why?". Robert De Niro definitely gives off an unusual (and brutally raucous) vibe here in arguably his goofiest role of his career, partially since he is not known for raunchy R-rated comedies and has spent most of his careers spawning in roles of serious subject matter. Zac Efron on the other hand, is no stranger to the hardcore comedy territory, such as playing a college fraternity leader in 'Neighbors'. These two actors collaborate for the first time in this raucous comedy directed by Dan Mazer, a film that's not terrible but certainly what labels a low point in their career. Zac Efron plays Jason Kelly, a high-strung lawyer in his way to marrying his boss's uptight daughter Meredith (played by Julianne Hough). With his wedding only days ahead, Jasok is asked to drive his widowed, loathsome grandfather Dick (played by Robert De Niro) from his house to Boca Baton, Louisiana. Along the way, they run into college friends Lenore (played by Aubrey Plaza), Bradley (played by Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman), and Shaudia (played by Zoey Deutch), and what was supposed to be an easy cross-state trip results in an odyssey of drugs, booze, and embarrassing mayhem while grandfather Dick go outs in search for a new love of his life.
It's easy say Zac Efron and Robert De Niro do make quite an odd comedic duo at first glance. But the real question is do they make a successful duo here. To some extent, sort of. But it definitely isn't one that works as well as it should have. The two leads both have heir hilarious moments every once a while but a lot of time, they try way too hard and it's not always funny. Efrom and De Niro spend nearly the entire length spitting out raunchy dialogue ranging from sex jokes, genitalia jokes, masturbation jokes along with explicitly crude gags that often come off but forced though occasionally funny. Of course based on the title, the level of vulgarity shouldn't come to too much of a shock, except maybe the fact that De Niro indulges so far into the level and seems to have fun dropping a large horde of penis jokes. Possibly the most questionable element here maybe De Niro's flirtatious interaction with Aubrey Plaza who plays a college girl probably only a third of his age. The aspect may be funny but tends to be conceived as rather than off-putting than sexy, especially considering the fact there is a brief sex scene between the two (no nudity involved). In the end, the hilarity isn't particularly strong but could been enough to semi- distract viewers from the blatantly rushed storyline, but only if you watching Zac Efron get high on cocaine or De Niro drinking booze with college girls in bikinis.
Dirty Grandpa marks a rather low point for the careers for both Zac Efron and Robert De Niro but definitely isn't what I consider one of the worst movies of this year so far. After all, it does succeed at least bringing some laughs. However, the effort of the two leads do not always prevail. For comedy fans, this film may be worth a try, but definitely won't please everyone, especially those who are looking for Robert De Niro in a more solid comedic form.