I didn’t have any expectations ahead of watching Dirty Grandpa. I guess I knew there was a chance it would fail, but my only thought was to sit down, watch it and hope that it would deliver in terms of comedy. Unfortunately, after I sat down, I realized that I probably should have simply skipped it all together. Instead of it being at least somewhat funny, this buddy movie turned out to be a sad film with absolutely nothing to offer.
With his married taking place in a week, the straight-laced Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) seems to have his life headed in the right direction. However, recent events see that tranquil life being shaken and rattled in every direction when he finds himself stuck driving his grandfather, Dick (Robert De Niro) to his home in South Florida. The original plan was simple, but confusion and insanity to over as he comes to find out that his grandfather has other plans that could not only get him into trouble, but also ruin the future that he already had arranged in his mind.
It would be easy for me to say that this simply isn’t a funny movie, but since this is a review, I have to do more than that. To describe it, I’ll just say that I almost laughed once while watching Dirty Grandpa. Overall, it’s so barren and pointless that I would have a hard time suggesting this to anyone that I consider to be a friend of mine. There’s really nothing to find that’s included that can be considered as redeeming. So many comedies these days don’t contain anything worthwhile and Dirty Grandpa is no different.
It would have taken a decent sized miracle to make Dirty Grandpa amusing in any way. The only person that I can think of who could have improved this would be someone who has a nickname that starts with Lord and ends with Savior. Other than that, there isn’t a soul dead, alive or otherwise that could make this work as it stands. In order to fix this and turn it into something tolerable, they would need to overhaul it completely and add an actual story to it.
Aside from the terrible comedy and the lack of any kind of legitimate story, Dirty Grandpa also struggles due to Zac Efron being the main character. Since he’s getting older, he can’t continue to play the high school kid or the college student anymore. Regardless of the genre, he eventually had to try to star as an actual adult. The problem is that he appears to be incapable of delivering anything other than his classic wooden performance. That might have been enough for his High School Musical days, but it won’t work when there’s an adult audience looking to be entertained.
Maybe he can still improve, but at this point, he has as much of a chance of becoming a credible actor as I do of winning the Boston Marathon. As I do with essentially everyone, I wish him the best and hope that he does get better. I don’t enjoy watching people fail, so I think it’s obvious that I’d rather root for his success than laugh at his potential failure. With that being said, I hope he can become a real actor and start churning out better stuff. If not, he probably won’t be around much longer in any capacity.
When looking at it for what it is, Dirty Grandpa reminds of We Are Your Friends, Efron’s theatrical release right before this one. I don’t know if this is the type of stuff he’s looking for specifically now, but neither one of them had a real story or any sense of direction. I mean, at least We Are Your Friends had Emily Ratajkowski there to help distract me at times. This one didn’t have anything on that level to try to take my mind off of the mindlessness that was being showcased on screen. That’s one of the countless reasons why it’s an early candidate for the worse film of 2016.
Director: Dan Mazer
Robert De Niro
Film Length: 102 minutes
Release Date: January 22, 2016