By Jack Dignan
Robert DeNiro is one of the all time greats. He is simply the best. Ever since his breakthrough into Holywood in the 70s, DeNiro has been (mostly) consistent in the quality he provides, starring in films such as The Godfather Part 2, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and many others. He's quite the talent, and he also seems to be a rather respectable man. Lately, however, his choice of films have been.... um.... not quite up to scratch, to say the least. He's enjoying himself, I'll give him that, but I have not been enjoying what he's providing. With Dirty Grandpa, it may not be good, but at least I can say that I've now seen Robert DeNiro masterbating. I guess that's an achievement?
Dirty Grandpa follows the story of Jason (Zac Efron). He's a lawyer who's happily about to get married to the love of his life, Meredith (Julianne Hough). After his grandma dies, his grandpa, Dick Kelly (Robert DeNiro), insists that the two of them go down to his old house to play golf. What Jason doesn't realise is that Dick is taking them down to Florida where he intends on partying during spring break, and hopefully having sex for the first time in fifteen years as well. This is where they run into Shadia (Zoey Deutch), a high school friend of Jason's, Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), a young woman who really wants to have sex with a professor, and their friend Bradley (Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman), who's in the film for..... well.... I'm not sure. I guess he's in there so they can make gay jokes and homophobic comments, because that's just what every film needs...
I love Robert DeNiro. I love Aubrey Plaza. When he's in a decent film, I even like Zac Efron. I didn't, however, like Dirty Grandpa. As a matter of fact, I fucking hated it. It's a vile and revolting movie that does nothing but offend people and make the audience, including myself, extremely uncomfortable. It's a film that's constantly taking things too far, taking the jokes to places where they no longer become funny, although to be fair, they're not really funny to begin with. It's not that the writers are trying too hard, it's that they're not trying at all.
If a joke falls flat every so often, that's okay. I saw Zoolander 2 earlier in the week and although a fair few of those jokes fell flat, I still really enjoyed the movie. With Dirty Grandpa, every joke doesn't just fall flat, it comes crashing down. Hard. Every sentence that comes out of Aubrey Plaza's mouth is a sex joke, and while she's easily the best part about this movie, she's rarely funny. Everybody in this movie is like that, though. Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro try to do their best with what they've got, but it just doesn't work, and the result is one painfully unfunny movie.
If you take away all of the jokes and just focus on the film's plot, it's one of the most cliché ridden films you could possibly think of, stealing plot elements from about fifty different movies. Dirty Grandpa doesn't really know what film it wants to take inspiration from so it decides to steal from every film ever made, mixing plots together like there's no tomorrow. Things were starting to wrap up so I eagerly checked my watch, only to discover that the film still had a whole hour to go. It really is rather terrible.
Another thing Dirty Grandpa managed to do was create some painfully annoying characters. This film was already rather painful to begin with, but then they went ahead and threw in a few more annoying characters for the sake of it. Robert DeNiro? Unlikeable. Zac Efron? I couldn't care less about. Jason Mantzoukas? There are no words. His character was just so irritating and unfunny, and yet he kept showing up in every single scene. The same thing can be said about the two police officers in this film, played by Henry Zebrowski and Mo Collins. They got under my nerves right away and they stayed there, just adding to the torture that is this movie.
To sum up, Dirty Grandpa is a film so terrible, it hurts. The cast are talented, but none of them are able to save this train wreck from derailing and burning down everybody's careers in the process. It's a revolting and uncomfortable movie that I'm doing my best to forget.