Zac Efron and Robert De Niro team up in their ridiculous yet at times entertaining comedy Dirty Grandpa.
I really enjoyed Efron in 17 Again and I think he holds his own as a comic actor so I’m always happy to watch him. De Niro’s pure gravitas means that seeing him in this sort of out there comedy could feel odd but he commits fully and it worked for me.
Ultimately Dirty Grandpa is a coming of age and coming of old age story which has lots of mishaps, plenty of Efron’s bod, bad outfits and even more bad language. It’s silly, over the top and out to shock. Robert De Niro plays Dick Kelly who after losing his wife asks/tricks his grandson Jason, played by Efron, to drive him to Florida. This horny old timer appears to have one thing on his mind and that’s girls, girls, and more girls. On the contrary, his straight-laced preppy grandson is engaged and determined to be committed to his legal career. Suffice it to say grandpa has other plans for his grandson. What follows is series of ‘events’ that sees Jason get into mega awks situations while grandpa lives it up at Daytona beach.
Let’s get it out the way, yes Dirty Grandpa isn’t the Godfather Part II, but it was never supposed to be. Critics have been very hard on this gross-out comedy and maybe that’s due to the fact that some do not want to see De Niro in a film of this ilk. This film is far from the worst film of the year as some have been claiming. There’s also worse films from Efron and De Niro’s back catalogue; look no further than We Are Your Friends and Analyze That.
Our expectations were quite low going into this film (and we had had a couple of wines which is probably the best way to view this film) but we found ourselves giggling to quite a few points in this movie and enjoyed both Efron’s and De Niro’s performances.
It’s not going to win any awards but it you want to switch off and go along for the ride then you might find yourself entertained. If you’re not ready to sully your eyes or ears with this version of De Niro silliness then by all means look away, but if you’re looking for an antidote to the serious intense Oscar fair, and just want to giggle and forget your woes, Dirty Grandpa is the film for you. Shabba!
Dirty Grandpa was expectedly lewd and ludicrous but made us laugh all the same.
Out in NZ cinemas 28 January.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar and Ian Wright