Dan Mazer (director of Da Ali G Show and Give it a Year) presents a hilarious concept in Dirty Grandpa that at time falls a little short, despite strong casting. Zac Efron and Robert De Niro, playing grandson and grandfather, show some impressive comic chops, but are less than believable in their character archetypes.
Uptight lawyer, Jason Kelly (Efron), is about to marry his boss’ control freak daughter (Julianne Hough). Days before his wedding, his grandfather (De Niro) urges him to drive to Florida in honour of his late grandmother’s passing. Little does Jason know that his crude grandpa has a road trip to Daytona in mind, filled with debauchery, drinking and drugs. Anxious Jason desperately tries to get back in time to placate his fiancé, while his grandpa is determined to feel young again. This is a raunchy comedy you wouldn’t expect from a harmless trip with grandpa.
Efron and De Niro do achieve some hilarious back and forth, with digs at Efron’s Abercrombie attire or lesbian appearance. It is difficult to believe Efron as the preppy J Crew stereotype with his life on track, though at times it seems like a dig to his High School Musical days as picture-perfect Troy Bolton, particularly in the karaoke scene. De Niro delivers as the hardass, ex-army granddad who constantly teases and crudely ridicules his grandson. The Spring Break jokes are a tad predictable at times, with outlandish parties and competitions, but nevertheless bring the laughs. The real standout in this film is Aubrey Plaza as the older man-seeking, sex-crazed college girl on De Niro’s tails. In truth, the most appealing parts of the film are scenes in which Zac Efron is practically nude, which are quite frequent. You know what they say… if you got it, flaunt it.
Overall, Dirty Grandpa lives up to the hype as a pretty hilarious and debaucherous journey. The film delivers cringe-worthy moments, but is overwhelmed by too many Spring Break clichés in 90 minutes. It is definitely worth watching to see Robert De Niro beat up gang and to marvel at Efron’s toned physique.
Dirty Grandpa is released nationwide on 29th January.
Watch the trailer for Dirty Grandpa here: