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Robert De Niro and Zac Efron in "Dirty Grandpa." Credit: Courtesy of TNS
Robert De Niro and Zac Efron in "Dirty Grandpa." Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Review: ‘Dirty Grandpa’ suffers from too many stereotypical jokes

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“Dirty Grandpa” is directed by Dan Mazer and stars Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Zoey Deutch and Aubrey Plaza. The movie is about an uptight guy (Efron) who is tricked by his grandfather (De Niro) to drive him to Daytona Beach just a day after his wife’s funeral, and chaos ensues.

This was a movie that I was hoping would be truly hilarious, especially because of the two leads. De Niro is a film legend, and Efron has impressed in his recent films, so I really believed that this comedy could be great.

My favorite moments in this film were mostly the non-comedic ones, as I thought there were some really smart themes coming into play during the very few serious scenes in the film. The scenes where the audience sees De Niro’s motivation  and when he visits his friend, were both well-acted, well-directed scenes, something this movie could have truly benefited from having more of.

De Niro and Efron were both fine acting-wise in this movie, but the lines they were given were not. I did chuckle a few times throughout the movie, and one scene involving a college party was pretty comical. Besides that, “Dirty Grandpa” was a major disappointment.

The problem this movie falls into more than nearly any movie I have seen is having way too many jokes. Sometimes quality is way better than quantity, and this film is the perfect example of that. There are probably 200-300 attempted jokes jammed into a 102-minute runtime, most of which consist of the most immature and inappropriate puns imaginable. But, shortly into the film, I became numb to this type of humor. Most of the comedic moments are supposed to be gags involving old sexual jokes or the fact that being a lawyer is lame, both of which just aren’t funny anymore.

The plot sounds like it could be fun on the surface, but it gets so repetitive within itself that the movie just feels like it’s running in place for about an hour. All of the females play a different stereotype of women, and I guess they do it well, but none of them change at all from start to finish. The worst character by far was Jason Mantzoukas’ drug dealer character, Tan Pam. His character was meant to be the comic relief of a comedy, which is just as stupid as it sounds, but not one of his jokes worked for me. Some of them were actually offensive without being funny, and that is the worst type of comedy out there.

A major flaw in its plot comes with De Niro’s motivation for bringing Efron’s character to Daytona Beach.  Minor spoiler alert, even though it’s early in the film and was in the trailer, but De Niro takes Efron because his character’s soon-to-be wife, played by Julianne Hough, is a stick in the mud and seems a little crazy because of how nitpicky she is being about their wedding, which is in a week.  My problem with this is that nearly every single female on this planet stresses out a lot about their wedding and every little detail in it, especially a week before it, so this is completely normal behavior for a woman. It’s small plot errors like this, mixed in with comedy that is almost never funny, that made me hate this film by the end.

Overall, “Dirty Grandpa” was a massive disappointment for me as a fan of Efron and De Niro, and as a fan of funny movies in general. The jokes were way too immature for my taste, the plot felt tedious and had many flaws and the film relies on puns and gross-out gags way too often to be considered funny.  This is a movie that may be for those who have the sense of humor of an 11-year-old boy learning about puberty, but for many others and myself, “Dirty Grandpa” is a colossal letdown.
2.5/10 stars

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