Monday, February 26, 2024


THE STORY – Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss’s controlling daughter, putting him on the fast track for a partnership at his firm. Tricked by his grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro), Jason finds himself driving the foulmouthed old man to Daytona Beach, Fla., for a wild spring break that includes frat parties, bar fights and an epic night of karaoke. While Jason worries about the upcoming wedding, Dick tries to show his grandson how to live life to the fullest.

THE CAST – Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough & Dermot Mulroney

THE TEAM – Dan Mazer (Director) & John M. Phillips (Writer)

THE RUNNING TIME – 102 Minutes

​By Matt N.

It seems like forever ago that the historic actor Robert De Niro was giving us such classic performances in “Taxi Driver,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Raging Bull,” “The Deer Hunter” and a great deal many others. In reality, it truly has been a long time. In fact it has been over 40 years with a few other solid performances here and there. However, the truth remains that De Niro is not the actor he once was, and the generation who once knew his many talents has to finally accept it. His recent work with David O. Russell has hinted at the genius that may still be lurking underneath, but unfortunately we are saddled with a film such as “Dirty Grandpa” instead.

Teen heartthrob Zac Efron plays Jason Kelly who is about to get married to his boss’ daughter. It doesn’t help matters that he is anxious and she is a controlling freak over every aspect of his life. Right before the final arrangements are about to be made, tragedy strikes his Grandpa Dick Kelly (De Niro). Jason is eventually tricked by his foul mouthed and sex obsessed Grandpa into taking an impromptu trip with him down to Daytona Beach for spring break. What follows are bar fights, karaoke, and something unfathomable that was supposed to pass itself off as a movie to us.

This film is the career low for De Niro. It’s rockbottom. I can’t possibly see how it can get any worse than this for the legendary actor. The jokes are neither funny, nor witty in any way shape or form. The storyline feels dated, cliched, and does nothing to benefit the audience, nor the actors involved. In fact, it might single handily kill the career of the once great actor and seriously halt the progression of Efron’s.

It’s hard to even talk about Zac Efron in this film, mostly because this kind of role seems tailor suited for him. Let’s face it, we’ve seen him in these kind of roles before. Taking his shirt off once again though as if he’s the new Matthew McConaughey (Pre career renaissance), there’s not even one positive thing to take away from his performance. To be clear, there is no positive takeaways from this entire movie. Efron’s chemistry with De Niro is also non existent mostly because De Niro is doing god knows what with his role and other ridiculous shenanigans that shall remain indescribable, and not because of spoilers, but because I’m trying to save your time, money and sanity. However for the sake of trying to make a point, let’s just say there is one despicable and morally heinous scene that takes place on a beach after Efron awakes from a crack crazed evening that involves him in very little clothes, and a sexual innuendo gag that is neither funny nor needed.

I’m not even going to touch upon the other crude, disgusting and distasteful homophobic, racial and sexual references that this film has. Just know that it has them, they’re not funny, and I wish I never had to experience them. At even a short 102 minutes, “Dirty Grandpa” is too endless for us to have to suffer through such a slow and painful death march for the career of one Robert De Niro. The movie’s attempt at having even something closely resembling a morale compass in the third act fails, for by that point we are still trying to get the images (Keep your clothes on De Niro) and the dialogue (Senior Masturbation talk) forever out of our subconsciousness. Unfortunately for us, and for De Niro, the damage has already been done.


THE GOOD – Nothing

THE BADEverything…seriously…no joke! De Niro has hit a new career low which in it of itself is a miracle for the once great actor



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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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