“Dirty Grandpa” features Robert De Niro as a foul-mouthed grandfather who takes his grandson on a lust-for-life spring-break vacation.
That is the setup for without a doubt the single most torturous and thoroughly, unpleasantly rude and crude movie I’ve seen in years. It doesn’t succeed in anything except lowering the bars of its iconic talent.
De Niro stars as Dick Kelly, a widower who takes his grandson Jason (Zac Efron) down to Daytona, Florida, during spring break so he can spend quality time with him. Jason, on the other hand, is a successful lawyer who’s engaged to Meredith (Julianne Hough).
Once in Daytona, Dick shows off at every chance he gets, and his antics make Jason end up paying the price for it. There isn’t a single moment of dialogue or even a gag (visual or verbal) that is authentic or, for that matter, funny.
A couple of months ago, I said that “Love the Coopers” was the closest I had come to walking out on a movie. Well, let me retract that statement. If my urge to leave could be measured in distance, “Love the Coopers” was 5 inches away, and “Dirty Grandpa” was an inch and a half.
This movie is stupid and vulgar, but that’s to be expected. What surprised me was the level of contempt it seems to have for its audience. It basically throws out every single kind of racial or homophobic joke imaginable, and it is automatically under the impression that the audience will laugh mainly because of De Niro spouting it out. Wrong.
Some people may wonder how I could give a movie like this a negative review and yet give a movie like “The Wolf of Wall Street” a positive one. I think any reasonable person would look at “The Wolf of Wall Street” and see a movie with purpose, artistry, performances, a cohesive sense of storytelling and having something to say. “Dirty Grandpa” has none of that.
I have the greatest respect for Robert De Niro as an actor and I loved him in “The Intern” last year. He proved that he has a knack for comedic timing and a real genuine quality. I just consider “Dirty Grandpa” to be a very unfortunate misfire in his otherwise extraordinary career.
I’m all for politically incorrect humor, but the key word in that phrase is humor. Giving “Dirty Grandpa” a negative review is much more than just that. It’s also a public service announcement. You have been warned.
(Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and for language and drug use.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.