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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dirty Grandpa is exactly what you would expect

    Movie+poster+for+Dirty+Grandpa+starring+Zac+Efron+and+Robert+De+Niro.+Photo+Courtesy+of+Lions+Gate+Entertainment+Inc.
    Photo Courtesy of Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.
    Movie poster for Dirty Grandpa starring Zac Efron and Robert De Niro. Photo Courtesy of Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.

    Making its box office debut this weekend, Dirty Grandpa proves to be exactly what you would expect. The Zac Efron and Robert De Niro led comedy follows the exploits of a Jason (Zac Efron), a young, by-the-book corporate lawyer,who is about to get married, and his raunchy, fowl-mouthed grandpa Dick (Robert De Niro) whose wife of 40 years recently died. 

    Dick — whose name is a little on the nose and absolutely intended — guilt-trips his grandson into taking him on a nostalgic trip down to Boca Raton, Florida. The trip ends up being a ruse to get Jason away from his crazy fiancée and dad. The duo’s trek to Daytona Beach fulfills every stereotypical fantasy of a crazy, drug-addled spring break, with shocking turns around every corner that feel like bits and pieces appropriated from other comedy and action movies.

    The storyline is simple and predictable: because the movie follows a familiar cookie-cutter model, we know it’s ending before any of the action even begins. The best part of the movie is the commitment to the roles by the lineup of great actors. De Niro adds depth to an otherwise cardboard cutout of a fraternity boy who never grew up. Efron’s straight-laced character is pedantic. It oftentimes feels like the writers were trying too hard to make him such an extreme dork that they forgot that real people have multiple sides to them. As the movie progresses, Efron attempts to add more layers to Jason, but this ends up a fool’s errand.

    Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch’s representation of two college students is on point and draws a few laughs from a college-aged demo audience. With nearly every sentenced uttered having at least one f-bomb and dicks either pictured or referenced in just about every scene, it feels a bit like a desperate ploy to attract and maintain the attention of a younger viewing audience.

    There were still some genuinely funny moments and exchanges, however — especially in scenes led by De Niro. Interspersed between each funny moment, though, are clichéd and often sadly juvenile characters and situations. For example, the unprofessional local police, who are friends with the resident drug dealer, and the group of wanna-be gangsters at the nightclub who befriend Dick after he beats them up feel beyond unrealistic. There is such a forced irony that it doesn’t work at all.

    About halfway through the movie comes the sense of greater purpose. Heartfelt moments between Dick and Jason provide insight into Dick’s single-minded purpose to bone a college girl and Jason’s need to find some balls and make his own life decisions. The movie ties together perfectly at the end, like simplistic comedies often do, and gives everything you could want from an R-rated comedy: nudity, curse words, drugs and jokes that play in the realm of offensive. Overall, it’s funny, awkward, predictable and offers many opportunities for drinking games.

    Rating: C+


    Follow Casey Aldava on Twitter.


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