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Dan Mazer
Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Dermot Mulroney
Writing Credits:
John M. Phillips

Right before his wedding, an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather - a lecherous former Army Lieutenant-Colonel - to Florida for spring break.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$11,111,875 on 2,912 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 5/17/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director Dan Mazer, Writer John Phillips, and Producer Michael Simkin
• Gag Reel
• “The Filthy Truth” Featurette
• “Lessons In Seduction” Featurette
• “Daytona Heat” Featurette
• “I Got Nothin’ to Hide” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Dirty Grandpa [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 15, 2016)

Prior to 1999, viewers knew Robert De Niro mainly as a dramatic actor. However, after he starred in that year’s hit Analyze This… well, audiences still largely regarded De Niro as a dramatic performer, but over the last 17 years, the legend has leaned comedic much more of the time.

De Niro’s first flick of 2016 definitely goes down the path toward laughs, as Dirty Grandpa provides a raunchy comedy. After the death of his wife, Dick Kelly (De Niro) needs a quick ride from Atlanta to Florida. He asks his grandson Jason (Zac Efron) to do this, though the timing could be better, as Jason will soon marry his fiancée Meredith (Julianne Hough).

An uptight, dutiful sort, Jason agrees and figures this will make for a short, tidy trip. The trek doesn’t work out that way, as the lecherous Dick puts them in all sorts of wild, bawdy situations.

Before Dirty hit screens, movie buffs bemoaned that it marked the nadir of De Niro’s long, usually distinguished career and fretted that it would soil his reputation in the long term. Time will tell if the latter becomes true, but I doubt it, as De Niro’s filmography includes enough gems to overwhelm the crummier efforts.

Though De Niro almost seems intent on diminishing that legacy, as he makes a lot more chaff than wheat these days. De Niro appears willing to do pretty much anything with a paycheck involved, which has led to lots of bad films over the last few years.

Does Dirty stand as the worst of the bunch? Maybe, though I will admit it isn’t as terrible as I expected. I anticipated a true car wreck, a witless effort on a par with those awful movies in the Date Movie “genre”. As poor as Dirty can be, it still shows occasional glimmers of life, which automatically makes it better than Date Movie and its ilk.

I also preferred Dirty to an earlier De Niro effort, the thoroughly abysmal Meet the Fockers - aka, “The Worst Misuse of Talent in Hollywood History”. At least Dirty musters the occasional moment of mild wit, whereas Fockers lacks even rudimentary entertainment value. (For the record, I never saw the next film in the series, Little Fockers - it might be even worse than its predecessor, but I can’t say.)

If you’ve not already noticed, we’re firmly into the “faint praise” portion of the review – and can “not as atrocious as I expected” be viewed as anything other than the most minor form of plaudit? It’s true: Dirty rose above expectations – but it remained a nearly humor-free experience.

Dirty remains known as a crude, smutty film, but most of that material appears in its first half. Right out of the gate, we get a relentless barrage of ugly, tacky attempts at humor – many of which involve De Niro. Want to see him pretend to whack off? You’re in luck, and you’ll also hear De Niro say the words “cock”, “vagina” and many forms of profanity more often than you might’ve thought humanly possible.

At least in a potential comedic environment. Of course, with all those Scorsese films under his belt, De Niro’s no stranger to “the ‘F-word’” and all forms of similar language, but those movies used the dialogue to suit the characters.

In Dirty, the opposite occurs, as the filmmakers tailor the characters to fit the words/gags – and everything else, for that matter. My biggest complaint about Dirty doesn’t stem from the crudeness – I don’t care for this style of gross-out humor, but it’s not the main problem.

Instead, the movie loses massive points because it’s so totally, relentlessly lazy and illogical. In a well-constructed film, the gags serve the story and characters, but here, the cart goes before the horse. Jokes exist in their own universe without any consideration whether or not they make sense in the greater context.

Examples of this abound. Why is Jason’s fiancée Jewish? To allow a joke that involves penis swastikas and a rabbi. Why are local Daytona cops working the traffic beat on the Florida/Georgia border, many miles from their locale? To use regular characters in the finale.

And so on. This trend’s nadir occurs during the wedding rehearsal dinner, where a deactivated microphone prompts the lamest game of “telephone” on record. The movie contrives in so many ways to force its terrible gags on us, and none of it makes the slightest amount of sense.

Dirty consists of a premise and gags without any real attempt at a narrative. Sure, but the end, it ties together Dick’s desires to liberate Jason from his uptight life, but that’s simply an afterthought in the greater scheme of things. Dirty cares way more about profanity and crudeness than it does story and character.

I probably wouldn’t mind that orientation as much if more actual humor resulted, but I’m not sure a single laugh results from Dirty - though the actors work their hardest to entertain. I’ll give De Niro credit: as much as this looks like a “paycheck movie”, he invests himself in the role, and he seems to enjoy himself, too. Granted, I’d be pretty happy if someone paid me to ogle/fondle hot women, but still, at least De Niro doesn’t sleepwalk through the movie.

Aubrey Plaza also threatens to bring life to the film. Her role exists as little more than a tawdry plot device, but her natural sense of snarky ironic detachment lends some glimpses of humor in her scenes. Jason Mantzoukas also contributes a bit of flair, even if his garrulous drug-dealing character suffers through some of the flick’s dumbest conceits.

In the end, Dirty Grandpa could’ve been worse – but it could’ve been much, much better as well. As it stands, the end result is too stupid, crude and illogical to be anything more than a “D-“ movie.

Note that the Blu-ray provides a longer unrated cut of the film. This adds about seven minutes to the “R”-rated theatrical version. Because the Blu-ray represented my first viewing of Dirty, I can’t list the differences between them.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Dirty Grandpa appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer excelled.

Sharpness appeared strong. No problems emerged there, as the image displayed crisp and concise information. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and edge haloes were absent. Print flaws remained absent, as we found no specks, marks or other issues.

Dirty utilized a fairly amber/orange palette, and the disc reproduced those tones well. Party scenes offered more dynamic hues, as they gave us some deep purples, greens and blues. Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows showed nice clarity. This became a terrific image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Dirty Grandpa, it offered an experience typical of comedies, as the soundfield displayed an emphasis on the forward channels. Music showed nice stereo imaging and moved the songs and score to the back speakers.

Most of the effects tended toward environmental material, though a few sequences added some pep; for instance, party scenes showed solid information around the room. Nonetheless, the majority of the mix stayed dialogue-intensive and without real theatrics.

Audio quality came across as good. Speech seemed natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was reasonably full, with clear tones overall. Effects were accurate and concise, without distortion or other concerns. Nothing here excelled, but the audio was fine for a comedy like this.

A smattering of extras flesh out the disc, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Dan Mazer, writer John Phillips, and producer Michael Simkin. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the film's development, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, improv/alternate lines, and related topics.

The track starts slowly, as it comes with too much joking and too much dead air. However, it rebounds before long and becomes a pretty good look at the film. The commentary never excels, but it seems engaging and informative enough.

A Gag Reel lasts one minute, 39 seconds. A few improv lines appear, but mostly this short collection sticks with goofs and giggles.

Four featurettes follow. The Filthy Truth runs nine minutes, 50 seconds and includes remarks from Mazer and actors Dermot Mulroney, Zac Efron, Jason Mantzoukas, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Pally, Mo Collins, Henry Zebrowski and Danny Glover. “Truth” looks at cast and performances as well as Mazer’s impact on the production. Other than some footage from the set, this seems like a fluffy, superficial program.

During the three-minute, 13-second Lessons in Seduction, we hear from Plaza in a brief comment at the start. The rest of the featurette focuses on the Lenore character’s “lessons” how to win a man. That makes it little more than a collection of movie scenes – and a waste of time.

Daytona Heat fills three minutes, 47 seconds with a look at the film’s Dayton Beach cops. The short adheres to the Reno 911 model. It’s not as funny as that series and it seems fairly pointless.

Finally, I Got Nothin’ to Hide occupies five minutes, 58 seconds with info from Simkin, Mantzoukas, Mazer, Zebrowski, Collins, and costume designer Christie Wittenborn. We get some details about the Pam character in this mildly informative piece.

The disc opens with ads for The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Cooties, Don Verdean, Gods of Egypt and Get a Job. No trailer for Dirty shows up here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Dirty. It includes the commentary, “Filthy Truth” and “Daytona Heat” but lacks the other materials.

Perhaps Dirty Grandpa doesn’t act as the nadir of Robert De Niro’s career, but it approaches those depths. Relentlessly stupid, witless and insipid, the movie does almost nothing right. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as good audio and a decent set of supplements. I’ve seen worse comedies than Dirty Grandpa, but that doesn’t make it any less awful.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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