When it comes to comedies like Dirty Grandpa you sort of know what to expect. Mostly juvenile jokes with the sole purpose to offend and shock you. And I was prepared for that as long as it would make me laugh. Here is the thing. None of what occurs in Dirty Grandpa made me do so.
Instead I felt pity for Zac Efron as he at one point probably realized that his choice to be in his movie might not have been a prudent one. Strangely enough I did not feel the same for Robert De Niro. An accomplished actor like him has no excuse to be in such a movie whatsoever. I would have had more respect if he would have done a porn movie instead. I remember a time that his name stood for something. Quality. If his name was attached to a film you simply knew you were going to see a good movie. But this has not been the case for years now and with this film I have lost all faith of him ever recovering. Well, The Intern was ok I guess. Still gone is the dedication and passion for acting he once had. Big assumption on my part obviously. But when someone is passionate about something you can see and feel that because often that passion seeps through in your work. When you watch him act I feel no such thing. He basically plays the same role over and over again with slight variations. You could argue that his worst is better than other actors could bring. Although then I only have to look at Zac Efron and Dermot Mulroney who actually do try to give it their best.
Granted it is not entirely the fault of Robert De Niro or any of the actors that Dirty Grandpa does not deliver. In this case ninety percent is to be blamed on the poor direction. Dan Mazer is known for writing the screenplays for Borat, Brüno and Da Ali G Show. And he apparently also has some experience as a director but this film just proves he does not have what it takes. He fails to make us care about the characters or make them so that we can relate to them. He does not even attempt to make any of them believable thus not providing good contrast. Take Grimsby with Sacha Baron Cohen for example. In that film he plays an immensely flawed older brother but you buy it since we are made to care about him. It is only then that the craziness that ensues around him becomes funny. Zac Efron's character is not someone I felt like rooting for. He had many opportunities to leave his grandpa but went along anyway just because of a few insincere words from his grandpa. A guy who he had fallen out of touch with a long time ago. I would have bought it if the grandpa in question actually was this sweet old guy who was acting out because of grief. But he wasn't. So it makes no sense why he would let himself be subjected to the horrors he has to endure. The whole romance angle is even more of a letdown because while utterly predictable that could have been a good motivation for the character to stick around if it weren't were for the complete lack of chemistry between Jason (Zac Efron) and Shadia (Zoey Deutch). Their romance was forced on us and not once was it believable. Even so it could have been used to remind Jason that he was a fun and passionate guy once. But again director Dan Mazer doesn't know how to achieve this convincingly.
I think I wasted enough words on this film. In short: Don't watch this film. It's abysmal!