Army veteran Dick Kelly and his twentysomething grandson, Jason, stand at two radically different crossroads in their lives. Dick's facing a life alone after the death of his beloved wife of 40 years. Jason is a week away from tying the knot with Meredith, a beautiful young woman he met working at his father's law firm.
Every year, Dick and his wife used to take a trip to their vacation home in Boca Raton, Fla. It's that time again, and Dick's determined to make the annual migration (from Atlanta) once more—this time as a bachelor. But cataracts in the 72-year-old grandfather's eyes mean he can't drive. So he strong arms Jason into playing chauffeur.
Never mind that Jason's getting married in a week. Never mind that Meredith's sweating significant details about the reception ("Which shade of salmon should the napkins be?") Never mind that Jason's tied-to-his-smartphone job means he's almost never not thinking about work. Never mind that the young man's domineering dad, David, isn't at all keen on the idea of his son spending time with the man who did such a poor job fathering him.
So it happens that Jason pulls up in his wife's neon-pink MINI Cooper convertible—a mode of transport Grandpa alternately describes as a "giant labia," a "giant tampon" and a "dildomobile," among other graphically gynocentric monikers. And it's not long before Jason realizes Grandpa's interested in something other than just a leisurely trip south to reminisce about his long, full life. No, Grandpa's not done "living," not by a long shot.
"I haven't had sex in 15 years," he tells Jason, following up that bit of TMI with an extremely profane description of the carnal appetites he hopes to satiate on their road trip—a journey that serendipitously coincides with spring break.
Now, you wouldn't think barely bikinied co-eds cavorting on Florida beaches would be interested in hooking up with a septuagenarian widower.
But this is a movie called Dirty Grandpa, so you'd be wrong.
At a diner on the way, Dick and Jason run into an old college friend of Jason's, a climate-change crusader named Shadia. She's headed to the beach with her bud Lenore and their gay bestie, Tyrone. And it just so happens that Lenore has some peculiar sexual fetishes—one of them being old guys. "We're heading to Daytona," Lenore says suggestively. "So you guys wanna tag along for a bit, party some babies into us?"
Things go south from there.
So far south you can't even see Florida anymore.
Because penguins are blocking the view.
To his credit, Jason has no interest in his grandfather's libidinous plan. He resists the older man's ideas repeatedly, and he threatens (and even tries at one point) to leave him behind. He's determined to get back to Atlanta in time to make the rehearsal brunch with Meredith and the rest of his family. And he's not tempted—at least not before he's drugged by his own grandfather and goes completely berserk—by the alternative that Shadia represents.
Grandpa, for his part, seems to be solely driven by a single urge: to have sex. In the end, we learn that the sensually obsessed dude actually had something slightly more altruistic in mind. (He wants to help Jason start making his own grown-up decisions.) A bit better is the fact that Dick eventually patches up his rocky relationship with his son, David. And, oddly, along the seriously debauched path he and his grandson stumble along, the older man occasionally delivers tiny nuggets of something like wisdom: marriage is hard, but worth it; living is about more than just conforming. (That latter lesson is hard to swallow coming from a guy who thinks debauchery is the antidote, though.) He proudly boasts that he was faithful to his beloved wife through their entire marriage.
The Catholic funeral for Dick's wife includes a reading of Deuteronomy 30:19. We also hear a snippet of John 11:25. Meredith's family is Jewish, and a rabbi talks to the couple about their sacred marriage vows.
Well, dirty is in the title.
Visual sexual content includes Jason catching Grandpa masturbating to a pornographic sex scene on TV (we see explicit movements); a close-up of a man's penis; another extreme close-up of pubic hair; a still pic of Jason embracing a topless woman; myriad young women in bikinis (including zoom-in shots on various body parts); men grabbing women's breasts; phallic drawings on men's faces (some laid out to look like a swastika); Jason (while high on crack) wearing only a stuffed animal (which a small boy at the beach wants to "stroke"); a graphic, moan-filled sex scene shared by Dick and a lingerie-clad Lenore (before the pair ends up having a baby and getting married); a woman putting a cellphone in her pants to take a picture; a cross-stitch of a couple having sex; and an image of a large dog "mounting" the naked and comatose Jason.
That's a very long sentence. But it's nowhere near as long as it would be if I documented the overwhelming quantity of graphically obscene verbal sexual references that pervade Dirty Grandpa. Jokes are made about dying while climaxing, manually helping dogs have sex, semen (a man's, a dog's, a horse's), oral sex (heterosexual, homosexual and bestial), anal sex, group sex, unprotected sex, (more) gay sex, lesbianism, (more) bestiality, rape, prison rape, (more) masturbation, manual stimulation, penis size (Grandpa's, Jason's, a baby's), vaginas (Lenore's, Mother Teresa's), labia, periods, breasts, testicles, erections, vibrators, dildos, herpes, menopause, Viagra and sexting.
Grandpa mercilessly teases the stereotypically effeminate Tyrone about being gay. But when others do the same, the old man beats them and makes them apologize, saying how we don't get to judge or mock others for such things in our culture anymore. It's implied that Jason and Meredith are cohabiting. Jason's cousin Nick confesses that while Jason was away, he had sex with Meredith. Jason and Shadia kiss.
A fight scene involves Jason taking a punch in the eye and Grandpa (who was a Special Forces guy) taking out an entire group of assailants (including one he punishes by threatening to break fingers). Someone gets a bloody nose after being hit in the face with a beer can. A reckless chase scene on an interstate involves a bus and an RV. Someone jokingly squeezes off several rounds from a pistol in a store. Jason's dad gets Tazed and knocked unconscious.
Crude or Profane Language
Nearly 150 f-words, some paired with "mother" or "butt." More than 30 s-words. We're also subjected to "a--," "h---," "b--ch" and "b--tard." The n-word gets spit out a few times. There are close to 30 crude references to the male anatomy ("d--k" and "c--k" among them) and half a dozen to the female anatomy ("p---y," "t-ts," "sn-ch"). Add about 20 misuses of God's name, including four or five with "d--n." Jesus' name is abused at least half a dozen times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Alcohol (beer, shots, champagne, wine) is consumed throughout. Grandpa drinks from a flask in the car, and Jason drinks from a glass while driving (which Dick tells him not to worry about). The two team up for a beer-chugging competition. They each down four or five in quick succession, and Grandpa spikes one of Jason's beers with prescription medication (which we see him grinding up secretively). Jason subsequently gets high as a kite (and he's soon nearly naked, with writing all over his chest). Already high, Jason tokes on a small glass vial which turns out to be crack cocaine. He winds up passed out, still nearly naked, on a beach after stealing someone's motorcycle and riding off on it. (We see the bike crashed next to him.) Another "drink off" involves people knocking back multiple shots.
Crack is jokingly called the "devil's candy," and a drug dealer named Pam occupies space here merely for crass comedy's sake. He repeatedly talks about all the drugs he sells, including heroin, mushrooms, meth, marijuana, crack, Ecstasy, peyote and human growth hormones. Some of his jokes revolve around peddling drugs to children. Two Keystone cops wink at Pam's drug selling, even though they arrest users (including Jason, who's framed by someone who puts a bag of pot in his coat). The police even give confiscated drugs back to Pam when he asks, in part because he's providing HGH to one of them. Grandpa also has some potent drugs, it turns out. And he and Jason smoke cigars. We see people toke marijuana at parties, etc.
Other Negative Elements
Daytona Beach is depicted from start to finish as a lawless party zone where anything and everything goes. Grandpa lies constantly. He makes a crude joke about public (airborne) defecation. An overweight man mashes his bare chest against a car window. Jason realizes that his grandfather, with whom he's sharing a small bed, is naked.
If you were a grandfather who was concerned about your grandson being manipulated by others, how might you seek to help him? Would you think taking him on a drug-, alcohol- and flesh-filled road romp might help him see the "error" of his "conforming" ways?
The answer to that question is self-evident. So self-evident my editor is barely going to let me ask it. Because it's possible that the mere posing of it gives this fetid film far too much credit.
Dirty Grandpa lives down to its name, then plunges so much deeper into verbal and visual refuse that the word dirty starts sounding clean in comparison.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Robert De Niro as Dick Kelly; Zac Efron as Jason Kelly; Julianne Hough as Meredith; Zoey Deutch as Shadia; Aubrey Plaza as Lenore; Jason Mantzoukas as Pam; Dermot Mulroney as David Kelly; Brandon Mychal Smith as Tyrone; Adam Pally as Nick
Dan Mazer ( )
January 22, 2016
May 17, 2016