Worthy but Not Original
Dirty Grandpa is full of obscenities and detestable themes that leaves very little to be considered loveable. In short it’s one of those comedies where you have to be a terrible person with a questionable sense of humour to like it.
Since I teeter on the line of being an awful human being I thought it was actually OK but not everyone will, in fact I would guess that most people won’t.
If you are expecting some sort of deeper exploration about love, fidelity, old age or indeed ageism then look elsewhere to entertainment that holds a more nuanced subject matter like Big Brother or one of those ambient whale noises CD. This is because the humour is entirely dependent on swearing or spouting some sort of sexually perverse ideas and slurs.
In this sense it is absolutely a one trick pony but what is worse is that the film is relentless in its pursuit of even more questionable and objectionable quips.
Every other line that comes out of DeNiro’s mouth is designed to shock; after all, he is the dirty grandpa. This could have been hilarious if all the lines were well written but in truth only 30% of them are actually inventive and funny so for 70% of DeNiro’s screen time you actually want him to just shut up.
This is comparative to that friend who is constantly trying to be funny even if most of what they are saying just wears you out – we all know someone like this.
That obviously leaves 30% of the lines that are actually funny and my most memorable is when Zac Efron walks in on DeNiro “taking a number 3”. Being the loathsome male I am; I may or may not have already dropped this amazing phrase in conversation on more than one occasion!
As is the norm with these types of comedies there is often a crazy situations that the characters find themselves in and Dirty Grandpa is no different. The best of these is where Zac Efron inadvertently smokes crack and let’s face it; crack is always a good time!
For me though the funniest person in the film was the young Aubrey Plaza who plays a girl on her way to Daytona beach for spring break hedonism. It’s here she meets Grandpa and sets her sight on partying some of his babies into her.
Plaza’s overtly slutty mannerisms fall into the realm of stereotype due to an absolute disregard for any form of subtlety make her really enjoyable to watch throughout.
Unfortunately though she is one of the only likeable characters in the film. DeNiro is too focused on destroying Efron’s marriage for him to be likeable. Even after he shares his motives as to why he’s doing what he’s doing you can’t help but dislike him as they simply aren’t earnest enough for you to care.
Efron’s character too is dislikeable through nothing more than being a pinch of ‘bland’ with a heap of ‘missing conviction’ on the side. That is evident through a complete 180 of character over a span of a few days.
Overall this film fires shit at a wall in order to see what sticks. Whilst it has it’s moments of humour the script really needed to be tighter in order to make the most of the cast and to make you empathise with the main protagonists. A lack of depth in character development also adds to the problem of likeable characters and whilst I found some of the humour entertaining many will believe this to be completely number 3.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Phrases like “taking a number 3”
+ Crack smoking
+ Aubrey Plaza
– Unlikeable characters
– Tries too hard to be funny
– One trick pony