by Julian Roman
January 22, 2016
Dirty Grandpa is hilarious. It is spectacularly perverse, sophomoric, and sexist; with no redeeming social qualities whatsoever. But it’s funny, outrageously funny, basking in unrepentantly low brow humor. I was honestly shocked by how much I laughed during this film. This isn’t English period costume drama. It’s a crude sex comedy starring one of the greatest actors of all time in a decidedly juvenile role. Critics can trash its stupidity and content, but they’re lying if they didn’t have a few belly laughs.
Zac Efron stars as Jason Kelly, a preppy lawyer cut from the J Crew catalog. The day after his grandmother’s funeral, and a week before his wedding, he’s forced to drive his grandfather (Robert De Niro) to Florida. He’s caught completely off guard by his grandfather’s behavior. It seems grandpa hasn’t had sex in fifteen years and is hell bent on getting the lead out. So a leisurely road trip turns into septuagenarian debauchery, especially when they run into two coeds (Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch) on their way to Daytona Beach.
The overall story arc is negligible. The lusty geezer wants to loosen his uptight grandson. Throwing away a promising law career and Barbie clone fiancée (Julianne Hough) by a laser focus on nubile college girls. It’s patently distasteful, but pretty damn funny to see. De Niro revels in this romp. It shows he can have fun onscreen with a thumb in the eye to his dramatic acting career.
Danny Glover has a cameo, I dare say, that may be his funniest single scene on film. Aubrey Plaza is also a scene stealer. Her lewd sex innuendos with De Niro are hysterical. It’s a safe guess that many of their scenes were improved, and then the sauciest bits cut together during editing. Her sarcastic delivery with the dialogue is just spot on. The film wouldn’t be nearly as funny without her.
Dirty Grandpa will offend the uptight and thin skinned. De Niro’s sex crazed antics are chock full of misogynistic, homophobic, and slightly racist dialogue. Then you throw in the physical and sight gags. It’s a steamroller of half naked women, male genitalia, and one particularly memorable scene of Zac Efron, high on crack, running around in a teddy bear thong. Imagine the most crass teen sex comedy redux with a more perverted old man. It’s a barrel of laughs, just the bottom of the barrel.
Clip – Flex Off