Dirty Grandpa (Unrated)
Perhaps it’s an inevitable part of life, but it is always exceptionally disheartening when an iconic figure plummets from the height of their craft. Of all the artistic endeavors that this phenomenon is obserable the one that seems to have been most frequently involving movie stars. You would contest the statement that Robert De Niro is a force of nature on the screen, or at least his body of work attests to the veracity of this statement. With a respectable six nominations for Academy Awards in the category of ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ to them resulting in wins, he has accurately referred to as one of the greatest actors of his generation. This crafting of such intense characters as the Young Vito Corleone, in the ‘Godfather Saga’ or Jake La Motta and the unforgettable ‘Raging Bull,' Mr. De Niro has done more to contribute to the Zeitgeist of the last several generations than almost any other entertainer. Best known for intense spermatic roles De Niro is understandably considered stretching his considerable range by branching off into other genres of the crime dramas that cemented his fame at the public.
The man does have a natural sense of comic timing and a strong ability for self-deprecating humor as demonstrated by a spell of the moment work on doing a skit making fun of him on Saturday Night Live. His move to more comedic role may be traced back, at least in part, to the live-action/animated movie ‘The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle’ back in 2000 he brought to life one of the most humorous evil masterminds, Fearless Leader. From there he migrated to numerous roles that based on his tough guy image as demonstrated by such flicks as ‘Analyze This’ and the’ Meet the Parents’ franchise. When these performances could hardly contribute to his legacy, they have been steadily increasing as the genres of films that can tap this amazing man’s talents. When I received the unrated edition of one of his latest movies, ‘Dirty Grandpa,' I experience considerable trepidation as I sat down to begin the review process. I’d already provided by consideration of the theatrical release and was curious as to what was held back for the inevitable unrated Blu-ray/DVD release. It must be noted that it did live up to expectations, this version included for the grocer, more puerile and generally the most basic degrading examples of comedy possible.
‘R’ rated comedies have been around for some years, shortly after the rating words devised by the MPAA in 1968. Since the purview of this organization is restricted to theatrical releases, DVDs and their successors were able to include material that previously would have struggled with a film with the dreaded and unmarketable ‘NC-17’ rating. The typical format movies are decidedly oriented developing such themes as frat parties, spring break or the general debauchery associated with the youthful pursuit of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Dirty Grandpa exhibits the same Bacchanalian excess regeneration defined by hip replacements and the need for such enhancements as Viagra to participate in the libidinous pursuits required by the genre. True to form the actual plot is a thin gossamer scaffold to provide an excuse for the raunchy material abundantly presented. Grandpa Dick (Robert de Niro) as recently widowed, decides that he has to complete his bucket list as possible. To accomplish this, he calls forces his grandson, Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) along with more, to accompany him to spring break in Daytona Beach Florida. Frequently, the team variation of the raunchy comedy utilizes a road trip to propel the story forward. The fundamental concept behind this movie is to begin with the script for a teen flick and with Microsoft Word or some other word processing program performs a search and replace any youthful references those conducive to a geriatric storyline. For the most part, this format does provide the requisite juvenile comedy given a bizarre twist by having the profanities and socially inappropriate actions coming from a septuagenarian. A familiar plot contrivance found in most will trip the stories depends on the diametrically opposite personalities between two people embarked on the journey.
Grandpa Dick has aged out of any semblance of control over his actions, realizing there are no repercussions of his age doing anything that he might desire, starkly contrasted grandson Jason’s straight-laced and uptight persona. Getting coerced into taking grandpa to Florida cannot come at a less opportune moment. He is one week away from getting married to Meredith Goldstein (Julianne Hough) was already trained him into always responding "yes dear," "right away dear" or "anything you want dear" as a prerequisite before the customary "I Do." What little experience he had he has already been broken and whipped into submission before the engagement even offering the ring. That is only the personal plans that are threatened by the road trip. This young woman with the overwhelmingly controlling personality just happens to be his boss’s daughter so his marriage would put them on the fast track to partnership and the ultimate corporate success. This is such a familiar set of circumstances to every ‘Porky’s’ or ‘American Pie’ movie that the only iota of novelty is that the uncontrollable, foul mouth party animal is eligible for the senior discount at Denny’s and membership in AARP. Naturally, Grandpa Dick is more likely to be seen at a strip club’s buffet rather than an early bird special in a chain restaurant.
The foundation for the majority of the ribald humor presented in this story depends on the juxtaposition of social acceptability and debauchery. I order to maximize the effect on the audiencedriving both sides past a reasonable depiction to an unrealistic extreme. Jason is unassuming and reserved so his counterpart, Dick, has to be entirely devoid of so much of a modicum of self-restraint and an internal censor. Jason carefully plans and reviews every word uttered and action undertaken while Dick says anything passing through his mind and acts without restraint or consideration on every impulse. This dichotomy is extended to their female counterparts. Bride to be Meredith has existed in the protected cocoon of an extremely wealthy and powerful father. As ‘daddy’s little girl she never needed to learn or understand restraint of having a whim denied or deferred. Her opposite is found in an archetype borrowed from the romantic comedy, the best uninhibited best friend of the forbidden love interest. During this epic journey of excess and depravity, Jason encounters a friend from his college photography class, Shadia (Zoey Deutch, and her uninhibited, overtly hyper sexual, nymphomaniac Lenore (Aubrey Plaza). Although not of the exhaled level of Mr. de Niro, Ms. Plaza is a well-respected actress commonly known for her work in independent films and the cult classic television series, ‘Community.' Currently, she is showcasing the eclectic range of her talent outstanding surrealistic program, ‘Legion’ on the FX network. Even well-known actors have financial responsibilities, and of their chosen intrinsic requirements of their chosen craft demands, they maintain a presence in the public consciousness. This often entails accepting work in projects that will be shunned in award season. Actually, ‘Dirty Grandpa’ was nominated for several Golden Raspberry Awards for the worse achievements in cinema including nominations for; ‘Worst Picture,' ‘Worst Actor, ‘Worst Supporting Actress ‘ and ‘Worst Screenplay.'