Dirty Grandpa sets its stall out early, naming Robert De Niro‘s character Dick.
His wife has just died and he needs a release, and that involves attempting to sleep with hot college girls, with Lenore (Aubrey Plaza perfecting the hot, ditzy, slutty character) being particularly high on his list. Zac Efron, as Jason, is the straight-laced one in the pairing while Dick is rude until the cows come home, as they head off to the beach for one last Spring Break-style hurrah.
What starts off with a lot of jokes hitting regularly, with a lot of witty one-liners – one of the few non-profanity-laden ones referring to Jason as a “Mitt Romney Terminator”, it slows down considerably after about 30 minutes with only occasional flashes of brilliance as they have to cram in Zac Efron pretending to be worried about making a wedding to a girl he clearly doesn’t care about – and a girl who is only bothered about the concept of marriage, and the script also tries to shoehorn in family-style bonding moments.
And I can’t ever find a time when a rape joke is anything other than ill-advised, so when Dick drops one in on the golf course, and even the reaction from the women he’s with show that the writers shouldn’t have included it, you know something’s gone a bit wrong. I understand that De Niro’s character is meant to be the sort of person who’s stuck in an era and who would’ve found that funny in his day, but it’s really not required. He does so well, instead, when he’s dishing out the standard toilet humour.
Throw in cops who allow surf shop owner Tan Pam to sell drugs without any issues, cousin Nick (Adam Pally) – who also tries to be very rude – but his rudeness comes across as crass without humour, and you have a film which is worth watching but even if they cut down its nuptuals-based premise, it would still take the wind out of its sails.
However, while De Niro is the biggest name onscreen, Aubrey Plaza is the real star of the show, here. Every time she’s onscreen, she gets her character on-point. I need to see more of her films.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and presented in 1080p high definition. As usually with a modern release, there are zero defects in all the locations in a film where it never rains. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50? Plasma screen with a PS4.
As for the sound, it’s in DTS 5.1 HD-MA and while it’s not a crash/bang/wallop film, it delivers the dialogue and music pieces perfectly well.
The extras are as follows, but there’s not a lot to shout about:
- The Filthy Truth: The Making of Dirty Grandpa (9:50): A bog-standard ‘making of’ with chat from the cast and crew mixed in with clips from the film.
- Lessons in Seduction (3:13): Basically, a collection of Aubrey Plaza’s best bits, which is fine by me.
- Daytona Heat (3:47): Presented in 4:3, this is pretending to be a clip from a reality series made in the ’80s. Unfortunately, the two idiotic cops were the least funny part of the whole movie.
- I Got Nothin’ To Hide: A Look at Daytona’s Most Vibrant Drug Dealer (5:58): Even before you click on it, you know it’s about Tan Pam. He was an okay character.
- Gag Reel (1:39): More like a few frames rather than a whole reel, it’s so short.
- Audio commentary: with director Dan Mazer, writer John Phillips (credited in the film as John M Phillips) and producer Michael Simkin.
The disc contains English subtitles, a bog-standard 12 chapters, and the main menu featurettes a static shot of Zac and De Niro with more staic shots passing by behind them, against silhouetted people pretending to be a crowd. There’s also a short piece of music playing, but like Sony’s The Night Before Blu-ray, it doesn’t come from the film and it feels odd that they’ve just bought in a stock piece of audio instead. Shazam found it as
Frank Rosiak - This Bird Still Flies Free . I found an official video for that, but Youtube told me it was “unavailable” so the link is from another video using the same piece.
Running time: 110 minutes
Cat no: LGB95327
Released: May 23rd 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Format: 2.35:1 (ProRes 4:4:4 (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Dan Mazer
Producers: Jason Barrett, Bill Block, Barry Josephson and Michael Simkin
Screenplay: John M Phillips
Music: Michael Andrews
Dick Kelly: Robert De Niro
Jason Kelly: Zac Efron
Shadia: Zoey Deutch
Lenore: Aubrey Plaza
Tan Pam: Jason Mantzoukas
David Kelly: Dermot Mulroney
Meredith: Julianne Hough
Bradley: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
Tyrone: Brandon Mychal Smith
Cody: Jake Picking
Brah: Michael Hudson
Cousin Nick: Adam Pally
Officer Finch: Mo Collins
Officer Reiter: Henry Zebrowski
Stinky: Danny Glover
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.