Following the death of his wife, Dick Kelly (Robert De Niro) asks his soon-to-be-wed corporate lawyer grandson Jason (Zac Efron) to accompany him to Florida. Believing the trip to consist of a few rounds of golf, Jason is shocked to find that his grandfather is quite a perverted individual, with the two ending up at spring break in Daytona on a quest to get Dick laid. Along the way, they run into Jason’s old classmate Shadia (Zoey Deutch) and her promiscuous friend Lenore (Aubrey Plaza).
A question that has to be asked in regards to Dirty Grandpa is how dire in need of cash is Robert De Niro? This is a film where the two-time Academy Award-winning actor is reduced to playing a dirty old man undergoing a “late life crisis.” Dirty Grandpa sets the bar pretty low early on when Jason walks in on his grandfather masturbating to porn and the bar only gets lower from there. Of course, Dirty Grandpa exists in a sex comedy fantasy world, which includes a drug-dealing shop owner named Pam (Jason Mantzoukas) and probably the world’s worst police officers. While it is interesting seeing Zac Efron playing an adult straight-man role, it isn’t too long before he takes his shirt (and everything else) off.
While the most embarrassing performance in the film is De Niro, the supporting cast doesn’t fare much better. Julianne Hough as Jason’s finance Meredith is a stereotypical bridezilla who is not beyond asking about tie colours during a eulogy. Aubrey Plaza graduates from her earlier promiscuous role in The To Do List and plays a bad girl in the same sarcastic style as every character she has ever played. The film also wastes Dermot Mulroney as Jason’s father and features a completely meaningless cameo by Danny Glover as an old army buddy of Dick’s.
There is little question that Dirty Grandpa is little more than a paycheque role for Robert De Niro, and it is quite sad to see how low he is ready to go. The concept of the dirty old man is a way overused plot device, and Dirty Grandpa does absolutely nothing to make this cringe-worthy concept any more palatable.