Movie Review: DIRTY GRANDPA (2016)

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dirty_grandpa.jpgDIRTY GRANDPA (USA 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Dan Mazer

Starring: Zac Efron, Robert DeNiro, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza

Review by Gilbert Seah

Read Interview with the Art Director Jeremy Woolsey

A party scene has one character saying: “Party till you are pregnant!” Another has a prosthetic penis (an erect one at that) in the face of Zac Efron in bed after the De Niro character admits that ‘naked’ is the best way of sleeping.

If the above offends, stay away from DIRTY GRANDPA – the movie. The film is meant to offend. If the above do not do it, De Niro gets to use the ’N’ word later on in the movie. It is what is expected from the British co-writer Dam Mazer, who penned the BORAT and ALI G. characters with Sacha Baron Cohen. But DIRTY GRANDPA is extremely funny, if not a bit inconsistent in its laughs. But if a few jokes fail, one knows there are more successful ones to offend just around the corner.

But the film has a poor start with the funeral services of Dick Kelly’s (De Niro) wife of 15 years. Cousin Nick’s (Adam Pally) drunken shenanigans (speeches and small talk) are unfunny and a waste of time. His later appearance does more of the same and director Mazer would have done better to edit this character out of the film. Then there is the appearance of Dick’s grandson, Jason (Efron) and his annoying fiancé, Meredith (Julianne Hough). The Meredith character and her scenes are also unfunny at all, though her character is key to the film’s plot. John Phillip’s script could have given her a few funny moments.

The film’s simple plot allows for lots of hilarious distractions. Dick fools his grandson Jason to drive him to Florida for spring break for the sole reason that Dick and his late wife go there every year. But Dick has another agenda up his sleeve. He finally confesses to Jason once there in the film’s funniest line: “I have been faithful for 15 years, and all I want to do now is fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” The two get a chance when they meet two hot chicks Shadia (Zoey Deutch) and Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) on the road.

The film’s funniest parts are nothing less than inspired. At a beach party, there is a ‘Flex Off”, a take off from a ‘Dance-Off’ where Dick and Jason hilariously take on a couple of hunks in the contest. Another exceptionally funny segment is when Jason gets drunk and naked, smokes crack and takes off stoned on a motorbike to a beach where he is mistaken for a child pervert.

Oscar winner De Niro has proven his comedic skills in films like MEET THE PARENTS and THE FAMILY, while Efron has proven himself just as proficient in last year’s NEIGHBOURS. Together, they form a dynamic duo in comedy.

The film’s climax does not involve anything as dramatic as the heroes saving the world but involves the heroes accomplishing an equally daunting task. Dick gets to fuck after 15 years in another very funny segment. If you are prepared not to be offended, DIRTY GRANDPA proves enough filth for the funny bone for the entire 2016.

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Movie Review: JOY (2015)

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joy_poster.jpg
JOY (USA 2015) ***** TOP 10
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Donna Mills, Elisabeth Röhm, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd

Writer/director David O. Russell has been known to made films with strong family content like SPANKING THE MONKEY, THE FIGHTER and. His last movie AMERICAN HUSTLE shows him successful in a completely different genre – business. JOY, a film about a housewife named Joy Mongano (Jennifer Lawrence), a struggling single mother who with the help of family and friends succeeds in inventing and marking her miracle mop invention combines the best of the two genres.

Joy has not the typical family. Her grandmother (Dianne West) who narrates the story, her TV-addicted mother, Terry (Virginian Madsen), two children live with her in her house together with her divorced husband (Edgar Ramirez) who lives in her basement. Her dad (Robert de Niro) suddenly moves in, and causes some havoc. But to survive, Joy decides to manufacture and sell her magical mop, going all out – to make it or go completely broke. This is a film about mending broken dreams and making them finally come true. JOY is a true joy to watch, a feel-good Christmas film with all the peers and quirkiness found in a Russell movie. The film moves at a manic pace, especially in the beginning, capturing the spirit of AMERICAN HUSTLE.

Jennifer Lawrence (MOCKINGJAY) delivers another knock-out performance capable of winning her another Oscar nomination for Best actress. Her two memorable segments especially the one where she freaks out in front of her daughters is enough to make one cry. The other has her telling her stepsister in words that will eventually go into movie history: “Never ever speak on behalf about my business … again!” Bradley Cooper has a smaller supporting role but one cannot get enough of his character on screen. Ramirez as the divorced husband is surprisingly good and truly as in the words of the film, they make ‘the most awesome couple in America”, despite not being married.

There is also some neat words in the script. In one scene, Joy’s father tells Joy that it is to possible to have the same dream, to which she replies she has had the same dream twice. If one has the same dream, that means having that dream twice, so how may times is the dream dreamt if one has the same dream twice. Funnier still, is the fact that what that dream is, is never revealed in the film. Also, Joy’s business financier and father’s girlfriend, Trudy’s (Isabella Rossellini) four rules of business success is a real hoot.

The trailer has a scene with Joy blasting off a rifle. In the film, she is upset and blasts the file taken in a rifle range next to the father’s shop. The trailer leads the audience to think Joy has shot someone, especially with anther scene with two cops handcuffing her and taking her away. But tis is not really what transpires in the film. It is a clever editing of the film to form a trailer to look more exciting with events imagined by the audience. Thought his to be a brilliant touch.

JOY has got mixed reviews so far from critics. I have read a few but am unconvinced of the reasons that JOY is faulted with. JOY to me, is a smart fell-good movie, appropriate for Christmas
and shows director Russell in top form.

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Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

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