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If you thought Betty White was offensively funny, if you thought Seth Rogen was one of the best in balancing crude humor with the pangs which come from growing older, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
Trigger Warning(s): Bestiality (1 Picture), Blood (cuts and broken nose), drinking (recreational), drug use (onscreen – smoking only), homophobic jokes, nazi paraphernalia (a swastika drawn on a character and a rabbi being part of the scene – Spoiler?), and pedophilia (comedic situation but still very twisted)
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Grandpa Dick (Robert De Niro) has just lost his wife of about 40 years. She was his everything, the love of his life, and every 5 or so years they would try anal sex. Yes, they were a happy couple and with her gone there is a hole left, and grandpa plans to find one a girl has that he can fill. Consider that a sort of introduction of how this film can go from a heartfelt moment to you seeing Dick’s grandson Jason (Zac Efron) smoking crack and having his bare behind on the screen.
But just so you know, it isn’t all about Grandpa being dirty. The heart of this movie deals with Dick recognizing that his grandson isn’t marrying the type of woman he had. Someone who kept their marriage fun, lively, and is the type of person you want to commit to for decades. No, the woman Jason is to marry, Meredith (Julianne Hough), is like Dick’s son David (Dermot Mulroney). Another person who will likely run Jason’s life and take advantage of the fact the boy doesn’t often stand up for himself.
So, using his wife’s death, Dick makes one grand effort to rekindle the relationship he lost with his grandson and to try to help him loosen up, be a normal young guy, and take control of his life. Thus challenging all the hard work his son put into Jason and sending those two on an eventual head-on collision.
Grandpa Is Really Dirty And Vulgar: Now, unlike Betty White, Robert De Niro isn’t someone known for teasing about anything sexual or vulgar. His career is pretty much built upon being a tough guy, but oh my god the things he says in this film. Be it these jokes he slings at a character named Bradley (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) which are homophobic, and maybe the slight bit racist, the way he handles Jason in terms of not just homophobic jokes, but also talking about penis sizes, him cock blocking him, and more, you will not be able to eat or drink while watching this. And, if you try, prepare to choke.
Amongst The Humor Is Pain: Grandpa Dick has lived a life. One in which he was special ops and did some gruesome stuff. Most of which isn’t gone into mind you, but with living the life he had he missed out on his own son’s upbringing, and that left some bad blood. The type which made it so he never got to really give his side of things to his son, see his grandchild like he used to, and now he is dealing with his wife dying, his best friend from the old days on his last mile, and has to face the concept that he may only have a few good years left.
Efron Holds His Own: For those whole liked Efron in Neighbors, consider this the warm up for Neighbors 2. For while Efron starts off as a push over, and like “Mitt Romney as the Terminator,” once he lets loose, it is like watching Teddy make a cameo appearance. I mean, just for a few highlights, there is Efron smoking crack and a kid ripping off this bumblebee thing covering his lower extremities, the jokes flung at him when he decides to dress like he is some preppy Ivy league kid, and then there are the things grandpa Dick puts him through. Like placing having Jason wake up to his penis on Jason’s pillow.
Aubrey Plaza Remains The Queen of Awkward Comedy: Though sometimes over the top, and more so jaw-dropping than funny, Plaza comes out swinging as she goes after Grandpa Dick. Almost to the point that you have to wonder how comfortable was Robert De Niro really? For, the things they do and say on camera, it almost makes you wish there were outtakes during the credits.
Dick and David’s Relationship: When it comes to this father and son relationship, unfortunately, we aren’t fully informed how did things really get bad beyond “Daddy wasn’t there.” Plus, the way Dick describes his wife, and the way you are led to perceive his wife raised David, it leads you to question how David became the man he is?
Meredith Isn’t Three Dimensional: Recognizing the term might be offensive, pretty much Meredith fits the stereotype of a J.A.P and isn’t given any sort of redeemable qualities. She is just this girl whose father works with David, and seemingly those two, David and Meredith’s dad, matched their kids up to make their law firm’s legacy stronger. Outside of that, you aren’t given any single or signal that Jason cares about this girl at all nor that she has any type of qualities one would like in a woman, past whatever physical preference you may have.
Jason’s Love Story With Shadia (Zoey Deutch) Is Basic: Though Efron and Deutch do look cute together, their characters’ romantic plot is so weak that you don’t necessarily root for their relationship because of chemistry. If anything, you root for them because the film lays down the most basic foundation of her representing his artsy side and because Meredith is portrayed as such a proverbial ball and chain that even Plaza’s Lenore would have been a welcome choice for him.
On The Fence
The Border Between Over the top and Corny: When it comes to Tan Pam (Jason Mantzoukas), Officer Finch (Mo Collins), and many other supporting characters, be it because their jokes weren’t on the level of De Niro’s material, didn’t really fit in what I found funny, or seemed like the type of material you would throw out, they were very hit and miss.
Final Thought(s): Worth Seeing
As those who may have been reading this blog for a bit may know, I’m weird enough to count how many times I laugh during films, and this film made me laugh damn near 80 times (79 is the count). Now, I’m not sure if that is a record or not, but let me just reiterate that if you bought snacks before the movie, eat them during the trailers. For pretty much if you try to eat or drink during this movie, there will likely be a randomly thrown out line, or a hilarious situation, which will either lead to you spitting out your drink, or choking. Plain and simple. Which is the reason why I’m labeling this “Worth Seeing.” For while, there could have been a better attempt at developing some of the characters, and their relationships, the core one which matters, the one between Jason and his Grandpa, is both touching and hilarious, is eclipses anything negative which could be fathomed about this movie.
Things To Note
The reason for all the Trigger Warnings is because I’m basically checking this post on Tumblr for any which may fit, that are specific and not something very generic like violence or swearing.