Directed by Dan Mazer
Written by John M. Philips
Starring: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Dermot Mulroney, and Jason Mantzoukas
The sad thing about raunchy, balls to the wall R-rated comedies is that the movies have become a contest to be dirtier and raunchier than the ones that preceded it. The only thing this contest has managed to accomplish is to kill the art of the double entendre. In “Dirty Grandpa” director Dan Mazer and writer John M. Philips prove that double entendre is dead in R-rated comedies because they actively avoid them. Sure, “Dirty Grandpa” is an R-rated comedy and the movie can have sex and nudity gags, and profanity but the jokes cannot be deadpan, straight-faced vulgar. The greatest failure of “Dirty Grandpa” is that none of the jokes land. None of the jokes land because they lack double entendre.
Everything out of Aubrey Plaza’s mouth was dirty jokes, dirty jokes that are eye-roll inducing and frankly, flat out gross. While watching this movie, I said to myself “ew, gross” more times than I did while watching “Deep Throat.” I like Plaza; she is a talented young woman, but not even she could pull this off.
Despite the film dragging on for a tortuous 102 minutes, it did have some highlights. Zac Efron and Robert De Niro were good together. They had chemistry and worked well off of one another. I can easily see them working together in a better movie.
The only part of “Dirty Grandpa” that was remotely funny was Jason Mantzoukas. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a strongly pro-Mantzoukas bias. My favorite episodes of “The League” were the episodes that centered the characters played by him and Seth Rogan. Mantzoukas’ appearances in the film were fresh air and relief from a dull movie that needs to go back to film school to learn how to be a comedy.