Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review: Dirty Grandpa

Image courtesy of Lionsgate.
Most great actors end up doing a few films they regret over the course of their careers - hell, Meryl Streep had "Still of the Night" and Marlon Brando, well, he had a few too. There have been some who have chastised the great Robert De Niro over the past decade when he began taking on more lightweight roles, after having been involved in heavyweight classics - including "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "The Godfather Part II" - for several decades.

De Niro has been doing some great work in David O. Russell's films during the past few years to offset the paycheck films, but "Dirty Grandpa" is the type of picture that would be a low in anyone's career. It's not that De Niro - or Zac Efron, for that matter - are particularly bad in the film. It's that they've been saddled with some of the worst material I've seen in some time.

In the film, Efron's uptight Jason is a lawyer in his father's (Dermot Mulroney) firm and is about to marry a young woman named Meredith (Julianne Hough), who is played as the type of castrating woman who, according to this movie, gives guys a free pass to act as awful as they want.

Jason's completely perverted grandfather Dick (De Niro), whose wife has just died, enlists Jason to take him on a road trip to Daytona Beach where, as it turns out, he is hoping to get laid. That's pretty much the premise for "Dirty Grandpa," which includes jokes that are misogynistic, racist and homophobic - that is, until the picture decides that its characters should stand up for minorities. So, essentially, the film gives its characters a pass to crack jokes at the expense of minorities because, hey, later they become pals with them. There's also an extended joke involving child molestation, but I'm not even going to go there.

I'm not sure if this film is meant to draw the throngs of people infatuated with Donald Trump because, much like the presumed GOP frontrunner, it's about as un-P.C. as it gets and De Niro's grandfather Dick is undoubtedly someone without a filter. The film is extremely raunchy - there's a close-up of an old man's junk and Aubrey Plaza's Daytona Beach partier appears to exist only to say the most sexually graphic dialogue imaginable - but it's not funny. As in, not even remotely.

De Niro and Efron are good sports to bring a certain level of professionalism to the proceedings, but the question remains: Why would they want to? "Dirty Grandpa" is really bad. In fact, it's an early contender as the year's worst. And keep in mind, I've seen both "The Forest" and the Michael Bay Benghazi movie.

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