Dirty Grandpa

*

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Dirty Grandpa
"With its thinly veiled homophobia and misogyny, you begin to long for the upfront approach of Benny Hill."

One can only imagine the look on the faces of generations to come, marvelling at the late 20th/early 21st century manifestations of low-brow movie comedy, as they observe a timeline that began with nudge-nudge 'Oooh matron' smut descend across the decades before finally arriving at a newly widowed Robert De Niro wanking into a tissue he will later wrap his grandson's wedding present in. With its thinly veiled homophobia and misogyny, you begin to long for the upfront approach of Benny Hill.

It's not the level of the humour that is the problem here but rather the lack of it as first-time scriptwriter John Phillips and director Dan Mazer (who showed much better grasp of edgy material when he was writing Borat) become so intent on the shock factor that they inspire the wrong sort of gag reflex.

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The story, such as it is, involves stuffed shirt lawyer Jason (Zac Efron, who needs to get another agent immediately), who in the week before his wedding to obnoxious fiancée Meredith (Julianne Hough) is railroaded into taking his grandfather Dick (De Niro) down to Florida.

It soon turns out grandad has spring break on his mind and as the comedy and the pair head south in a pink Mini which gramps refers to as "a giant tampon" – let's not linger on the fact that gag appears to have been written by someone who has never actually seen a tampon of any size - Jason becomes fixated on getting to the church on time, while Dick is more concerned with getting laid. In the way of such comedies, it's not long before they run into an old college chum of Jason's Shadia (Zoey Deutsch), whose buddy Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) is intent on completing the set of sleeping with a student, alumni and a professor and who thinks Dick will fit the bill. Meanwhile, of course, Dick's ulterior motive involves getting his grandson to realise he is making a Big Mistake.

The characters are less thinly drawn than scribbled, with Dick happily insulting everyone in sight, in particular Lenore and Shadia's gay African American pal Bradley (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), who becomes the literal and figurative butt of every 'joke' in Dick's armoury. After beginning with a little light misogyny – "one in three of these girls has herpes" (nothing is said regarding the men, of course) – the humour progresses through everything from swastikas composed of penises and the spectre of child abuse to Dick using the N-word. This last manoeuvre sums up much of what is wrong with Dirty Grandpa, because Dick only says the word out loud after seeking approval from a newly befriended set of black gang members. It demonstrates that even the filmmakers knew just coming out and saying it would somehow be a 'bridge too far' and yet they blithely try to upset every other sector of society without so much as a backward glance. Worse still, they don't even tough it out till the end, descending into a mire of sentimentality every bit as sticky and icky as one of grandad's tissues.

The lowest rating we give is one star and I would dearly love to make an exception.

Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2016
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An uptight guy and his grandad go on a lewd trip.

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