‘Dirty Grandpa Unrated’ DVD Review: Departure For De Niro’s Impeccable On-Screen Persona
From the opening scene, Dirty Grandpa Unrated proves it is not your father’s slapstick comedy.
Film icon Robert De Niro and former High School Musical heartthrob Zac Efron team up to take viewers on a journey from Atlanta, Georgia to Boca Raton, Florida, with a few debaucherous stops in between, punctuated by profanity-laced punchlines and outright hilarity at every turn.
‘Dirty Grandpa Unrated’ DVD Review
De Niro performs like never before as Dick Kelly, a recent widower, who is looking for one last thrill (and sexual conquest) before his time on earth has come to an end.
Dick convinces his grandson Jason (Efron), who is due to be married the following week, to drive him down to his condo on the beach for a weekend of golf and bonding after the passing of Jason’s grandmother.
The trip begins with Jason walking in on his grandfather masturbating unapologetically in the film’s second scene. From there Dick, a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the U.S. Army, berates Jason repeatedly for everything from his preppy, stuffy, clothing choices, to his overall uptight demeanor.
Desperate to salvage the relationship the pair had built in Jason’s childhood, Dick drags his grandson from one excursion to the other, spiking his drinks with Xanex and bailing him out of jail in Daytona Beach on three occasions.
While many were critical of De Niro’s performance, including New York Times critic Nicolas Rapold who likened it to watching a “friend’s mediocre improv troupe” doing “an extended spring break sketch,” there is beauty in Bobby D’s departure from the impeccable box he built over a 50-year career in the film industry.
De Niro is committed to being a complete low-life, creep, who cares about nothing but sex since he has been without the vice for nearly 15 years. He plays the role to perfection, exchanging come-on one-liners with coed Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) while chiding Jason for not being man enough.
Plaza is another highlight of this raunchy flick, making promiscuity the punchline in nearly every sentence she utters.
The show was nearly stolen by Jason Mantzoukas of FXX’s The League.
Mantzoukas plays Pam, short for Pamela, a local drug-dealer/business owner who accidentally forces Jason to smoke crack, failing to remember which of the two pipes he’s holding contain marijuana.
As it turns out, they’re “both filled with crack,” leading Jason to steal a motorcycle wearing nothing but a g-string with a stuffed bumble bee in front.
Ladies will likely love the amount of skin flashed by Efron, who does an admirable job attempting to play the straight man in this buddy comedy.
The unrated version piles more profanity atop the film’s script with audio commentary by director Dan Mazer and company titled: “Filthy Filmakers Who Have No Shame Audio Commentary.” This extra allows you to learn about different improvs that De Niro, Plaza and Mantzoukas create in the throes of filming.
Another extra, “The Filthy Truth: The Making of Dirty Grandpa,” offers a glimpse into how the production landed De Niro in the first place, why the acting icon doesn’t want to use the line “Hakuna Mattatta,” and simply how starstruck the rest of the cast became once he strolled on set.
“Daytona Heat,” a short mockumentary about the two police officers (and the actors that play them, Mo Collins and Henry Zebrowski) who have developed an interesting relationship with Pam in the film, could have been left on the cutting room floor.
The tandem is good for a few laughs in the film, not for a five-minute extra feature.
The film was crushed by critics, receiving just a 10% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but maybe those folks forgot who was directing the movie: Dan Mazer, of Ali G, Borat and Bruno fame.
So if you were expecting a comedy the whole family could enjoy Dirty Grandpa is not it.
But if you have seen any of those previous works by Mazer, you won’t be blindsided by the random vulgarity that makes viewers laugh and squirm simultaneously.
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