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DIRTY 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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