Dan Mazer is the long-time writing and producing partner of Sacha Baron Cohen and has worked with him on various projects, including Borat and Brüno. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Mazer’s directorial debut, Dirty Grandpa would rely so heavily on “shocking, inappropriate humor.” Unfortunately, unlike Borat, Dirty Grandpa isn’t very funny, it’s just plain rude. What would otherwise be treated as another lowly, throwaway comedy is bolstered by the appeal of Robert De Niro (The Godfather, Part II, Raging Bull). De Niro was primarily regarded as a dramatic actor, until he starred in the 1999 hit, Analyze This….Aside from some David O. Russell outings, most of his film appearances have leaned toward the comedic.
De Niro’s character Dick Kelly is a widow. The film opens at the funeral for his late wife. Afterwards, Dick soberly asks his straight-laced grandson Jason (Zac Efron, The Greatest Showman), to drive him to a Florida resort he and his often visited. The young lawyer reluctantly agrees, but it soon becomes clear that Grandpa is a dirty old man with a fondness for booze, breasts and much younger women. The uptight Jason loosens up and joins the party, much to the horror of his nagging fiancée, Meredith (Julianne Hough) and her condescending father, David (Dermot Mulroney) Dick is a total jerk, but the film attempts to convince us that he’s actually helping Jason. The script by first-time John Phillips is full of lines about pedophilia, rape, bestiality, drugs, and gun violence, apparently meant to be funny, that are simply cringeworthy.
Mid-trip, Dick and Jason meet two female students on spring break: Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), who becomes an unlikely love interest for Dick and Shadia (Zoey Deutch) who proves to be a nice distraction for Jason. The guys also find themselves challenged to masculine pursuits by a couple of frat Bros. If you still care about anything that happens in Dirty Grandpa at this point, your made of stronger stuff than me. Yeah, stuff happens, but it’s run-of-the-mill gross out antics. You may get a few laughs in spite of yourself, but it will be brief. Bad Grandpa certainly isn’t a crowning moment in the career of Robert De Niro, but it will do nothing to tarnish his legendary status. The guy deserves to have some fun and cash a paycheck. Zac Efron has yet to prove he’s a box-office draw, but he tries his best here, with problematic material. Dirty Grandpa makes Borat look like an all-time comedy classic.
Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Lionsgate’s 4K disc transfer is impressive. The image is crisp throughout and sharpness is strong. There are no apparent print flaws, including dirt or smudges. The amber/orange palette has been reproduced convincingly. The party scenes offer up some deep greens, purples, and blues. The colors really pop when appropriate. Blacks are inky and shadows offer a nice level of clarity. This is a very pleasing presentation.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Dirty Grandpa is typical of most comedies. The forward channels are emphasized, and the music and score are moved to the back channels. Effects are without distortion and dialogue is clean, clear and concise.
English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
Other than the audio commentary, all extras have been ported over from the Blu-ray to the 4K disc.
- Audio Commentary with Director Dan Mazer, Writer John Phillips, and Producer Michael Simkin.
- Gag Reel (HD, 1:39) Typical hijinks.
- The Filthy Truth (HD, 9:50) Mazer and members of the cast, Dermot Mulroney, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza and others discuss the cast, their performances and Mazer’s influence on the production. This is pretty standard EPK stuff.
- Lessons in Seduction (HD, 3:13) Aubrey Plaza’s character Lenore gives “lessons” in how to win a man. A complete waste of time.
- Daytona Heat (HD, 3:47) A look at the film’s Daytona Beach cops, Reno 911
- Blu-ray of the film.
Movie title: Dirty Grandpa (2016)
Director(s): Dan Mazer
Actor(s): Robert De Niro , Zac Efron , Julianne Hough , Aubrey Plaza , Zoey Deutch, Dermot Mulroney