It’s hard to get past De Niro’s big stink in Dirty Grandpa



This sort of sleaze-in-comedy-clothing you expect from Zac Efron, having slinked down Eeew Lane just two years ago with Neighbors. (Sorority house sequel with Seth Rogen coming soon, trailer in theaters now, beware!)

But sitting through each of the sex-crazy 102 minutes of Dirty Grandpa in a pretty-packed late Friday afternoon showing in the Regal Cinemas’ theater in Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA, I couldn’t help but think: Oh, why, Robert De Niro, why.

Why would you sign on to utter these words so-past-innuendo written by
John Phillips? What comes out of your mouth! Offensive in the name of laughs to the max.

Why would you agree to act out these should-be-kept-in-private acts in the story line directed by Dan Mazer right in front of us all?

The plot: Crusty Dick Kelly just lost his wife of four-plus decades. At her funeral, he tells his prim lawyer son he wants his apple-doesn’t-fall-far-from-the-tree grandson to drive him from Atlanta to Florida.

Grandpa turns out to be way more than lusty, and his great yearning to make up for lost time waylays his grandson’s weekend wedding plans back home.



The women involved in the trip, played by Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch, do more than tolerate these shenanigans. Grandson has to hide stuff from fiancée and dad, played by Julianne Hough and Dermot Mulrooney.

Zefron does privileged, proper and put out by grandpa OK enough. Plaza is over-the-top cartoonish, just like her side character in TV’s quite good and will-be-missed Parks and Recreation Deutch is the best actress here, a strident do-gooder somehow falling for her former college classmate’s lies orchestrated by Grandpa. But wait! Jason starts feeling the truth in his old soldier’s strategies as well.

All others are left in the wake of De Niro as Grandpa, big and loud and bold and crass. All in all, the great one takes it on fully, so he’s quite the jackass who’s meant to have a big heart underneath it all.

But it’s too late for the violins and moral of the story. The outer stench was just too strong for any sort of saving grace.

How much ribald are you looking for in your comedy these days? New widower in his 70s trying to score with college girl as his grandson plays wing man, good role for De Niro or not, and why? What’s your favorite spring-autumn movie romantic pairing, and why?

29 thoughts on “It’s hard to get past De Niro’s big stink in Dirty Grandpa

  1. De Niro was great with Anne Hathaway in “The Intern” where he played a retired executive who was looking for another challenge in life after losing his wife. Maybe he is wanting to play roles that he wants at the twilight of his career. I see Jennifer Lawrence doing some of that later on in her career now that she has won major awards and critical acclaim.


  2. There were jokes about De Niro after doing…what was it? 3 Meet the Parents movies. And then he did The Intern and I really thought, “Oh good, he’s back!” But, this is disappointing. Maybe he is just putting money in his pocket. I mean, how many movie roles are really out there for him now? But, I’m disappointed in Zac Efron, too. I loved him in 18 Again and Charlie St. Cloud. I’d love to see him in something where he doesn’t have to take his shirt off (as nice as it is) or resort of low brow humor. And this is coming from someone who loved the American Pie movies, Superbad, Animal House, Porky’s! Filth can be funny, I think, but this one sounds like it’s just filth.


    • I agree with you that there’s a line where some of these types of movies are funny and some are not, Rachel. As the old saying goes, I know the blatantly bad ones when I see them. You mentioned some that I enjoyed too, by the way. I think they all had a more playful spirit to them than Dirty Grandpa.


  3. My husband and I were just discussing De Niro as we actually watched Godfather while being snowed in over the weekend, and how he went from amazing movies (like Goodfellas) and now he is doing a movie like Dirty Grandpa. Although I appreciate that the man is trying to have a sense of humor, their is such a thing as going out on top and having some dignity. Can’t help but wonder if it has become more about the cash then the quality of work put out, especially when compared to some of his other movies.


  4. I can’t comment on this movie until I see it. But my thoughts on the topic are-
    I think the ‘geriatric’ element is irrelevant, because I’ve seen plenty of movies that were post 60 and funny and / or sexy. Putting that aside, I do prefer subtlety in some things but I think if the writing is smart, it can still be entertaining, like Stand Up Guys. I really loved that.

    I know that feeling though, when someone you always admire in film takes a dump on the screen


  5. I must say, I’m wasn’t interested in seeing this even before you wrote this post, but I appreciate that your writing met my expectation. I enjoy blatant sexy sleazy stuff when it’s crucial to the plot — in movies just like books. (Closer, Sex in the City, even Pulp Fiction) But I rarely enjoy simple crude humor.
    I think like anyone else, Mr De Niro is happy to have the work. Maybe he thought it’d be fun. I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy it, even if a 20-second clip tells me I’m not one of them.


    • Yes, Joey, there will be an audience for this, I’m sure. Born some three or more decades after me, recalling my past and thinking of my past. I like your point about sexy stuff being crucial to the plot, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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