Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: "Dirty Grandpa"

Well, he's certainly dirty alright.

If you were expecting the presence of acclaimed actor Robert De Niro to having a taming effect on this raunch-and-roll party, think again. De Niro plays a hard-partying gramps who has just lost his wife of 40 years, and decamps to Florida with his grandson to let his inner 21-year-old out.

On her deathbed, he insists, she told him to get out there and live the life he wants, and now he's carrying through on that pledge -- and not even waiting until her body is cold to do it.

De Niro plays Dick Kelly, a retired Army guy who, by his own acknowledgement, was an awful father. His son (Dermot Mulroney) turned into an uptight jerk, and now third generation Kelly Jason (Zac Efron) is following in his footsteps. He's already a junior associate in his dad's corporate law firm, more concerned with forming LLCs and getting married to a controlling rich witch (Julianne Hough) than pursuing his dreams.

Protesting the suspension of his driver's license due to cataracts, Dick shames Jason into driving him from Atlanta down to Boca Raton, with a few "stops" along the way. They play golf, chase some girls, head to Daytona for spring break, chase more girls, drink a lot, drug a lot, get into some fights and maybe, just maybe, learn some life lessons.

If it sounds like a goofball bender, a young-meets-old version of "The Hangover," that's because it is. Director Dan Mazer and script man John Phillips keep things loose and fast-paced. It may be 102 minutes of debauchery, but it's got just a smidgen of class.

Along the way they hook up with a threesome of hotties: Shadia (Zoey Deutch), who shared a freshman photography class with Jason and is interested in another exposure; Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), a slutty girl with a thing for oldsters; and Bradley (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), a fabulous gay black man who can't tell if the crass grandpa is pulling his leg or not.

Both De Niro and Efron show off a considerable amount of skin in the movie, proving that the 72-year-old screen legend still has a body of iron, and that the 28-year-old Efron is a frequent patron at the hair waxing salon. There's also a bed-sharing scene that ups the ante from a similar one in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" -- though with some stunt, uh, body parts, methinks.

One of the running jokes is how lax law enforcement is in Florida. Jason Mantzoukas plays Tan Pam, who runs a souvenir shop that's just a front for his drug operation. He fires pistols randomly -- "This entire state is licensed as a gun range!" -- and has endeared himself to the local cops so much that they pat him on the head and tell him to run along whenever he does something bad, like selling meth to 8th-graders.

It's a weird kabob of a movie, one bite tasty and the next one foul, though there's probably enough good to recommend if you're into this sort of thing. Just know what you're getting: this grandfather isn't cantankerous, he's one crude dude.

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