Dirty Grandpa is insanely funny to start with and then it just feels suddenly that the men making it ran out of ideas and comedy and resort to some unnecessary and distasteful antics calling it comedy. The best things about the film are depicted in the trailers and if you have seen the trailer you are not going to miss much if you don’t see this film. But what hurt me most was the fact that till the interval of this film I was practically rolling on the floor laughing. It was so much fun in the initial half that it was almost impossible to believe that it ended up so lame.
The story revolves around Dick (Robert De Niro) and ageing old man who has just lost his wife to cancer. He requests his grandson to drive him all the way to Florida and back home the following day as thats something he did with his wife. His grandson is Jason (Zac Efron) a head steady guy who is about to get married but decides to drive his grandfather not knowing that the old man has plans of his own. Once on the trip he realizes that his grandfather is a lecherous old man who conned him into taking him out on a spring break. Behind the scenes, the old man has other plans for Jason which is revealed towards the end of the film.
The film is thin on the story front which is obvious but after such a rollicking start, for the film to be low on the comedy was just unacceptable. The initial buildup and the scene in the golf course really! really! builds up your expectation for the film to be outrageously funny. But as the story progresses you are served up a cringe worthy screenplay which not only doesn’t make sense but is strangely unfunny. The whole chapter in the Florida is repetitive and at many junctures boring. The smartness in the writing and the crude but likeable humor is lost somewhere on the road. What is left is monotonous hamming of a lecherous old man and an always complaining guy. There is a love story feels under cooked, forced and completely out of place.
Performance wise, Zac and De Niro are good. De Niro is brilliant in the first hour and after that he is killed by the terrible writing. But he constantly keeps amusing you through his own antics. Zac Efron is ok. He is the guy who plays a la-De Niro character most of the time but here he is the one who is holding back and De Niro keeps questioning his manhood. He even goes to the extent of calling him a “cock-blocking terminator”. Then he is called a “lesbian”. This role reversal really makes for a funny viewing and is some of the only saving graces of the film. However as soon as we enter the second half, the edge is lost. The wedding ceremony is a big bore and it should have been the climax of the movie but instead patters into a non-starter and absolutely “not funny”.
Dirty Grandpa had a lot of potential and it showed that in the first half. But some terrible writing and a total lack of gags in the second half marred it completely. Even the spirited performances from De Niro and Efron couldn’t save it. The end of the film is bizarre. The fact that it tries to be sentimental to extract some genuine emotions is further laughable. The director should have thought of atleast a few gags or something funny to keep the audiences going. But no! That doesn’t happen. Instead what we get is an ageing 80-something De Niro fathering a child with a 19-something girl. Can you digest that? I couldn’t.
Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)