Dirty Grandpa

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Dirty Grandpa
Two topless men. The older man is lifting the younger man horizontally across his shoulders.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDan Mazer
Written byJohn M. Phillips
Produced by
CinematographyEric Alan Edwards
Edited byAnne McCabe
Music byMichael Andrews
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$11.5–25 million[2][3]
Box office$105.2 million[2]

Dirty Grandpa is a 2016 American comedy film about a lawyer who drives his grandfather to Florida during spring break. The film was directed by Dan Mazer and written by John Phillips. It stars Robert De Niro and Zac Efron with Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch in supporting roles.

Filming began on January 19, 2015, in Atlanta and ended on May 9. Dirty Grandpa was theatrically released on January 22, 2016, by Lionsgate. It grossed $105.2 million against a production budget of $25 million, but it was met with negative critical reception, and several critics called it the worst film they had ever seen.


Jason Kelly is a corporate lawyer in Atlanta who works for his father's law firm. Jason's grandmother dies, and after the funeral, his U.S. Army veteran grandfather, Lt. Colonel Richard "Dick" Kelly, asks Jason to drive him to Boca Raton, Florida, due to his driver’s license being suspended. Jason is marrying his controlling fiancée, Meredith, in one week, but decides to take his grandfather despite his apprehension.

At a diner they meet Jason's old photography classmate, Shadia, along with her friends Lenore and Bradley. After learning that Lenore wants to have sex with a college professor, Dick tells them that he is a university professor and that Jason is a photographer for Time. They initially go their separate ways, but Dick convinces Jason that they should meet the girls at Daytona Beach because Dick wants to have sex with Lenore. The two go to a golf course, where Dick flirts with two women much to Jason's annoyance.

At Daytona, they meet up with the girls and their friends, Cody and Brah, with whom they compete in beer chugging. Dick secretly slips Xanax into Jason's beer. That night, a drunk Jason, wearing nothing but a hornet fanny pack, parties and accidentally smokes crack cocaine from a drug dealer named Pam. He steals a motorcycle and wakes up the next day on the beach. During an awkward FaceTime session with Meredith and his family, a toddler grabs the fanny pack and takes it off; the boy's father calls the police who promptly arrest Jason. Dick bails him out, and Jason attempts to leave Dick with his old Army friend Stinky in a nursing home but they learn he is dying. Dick persuades Jason to stay in Daytona until he is able to sleep with Lenore.

They enter into a muscle flexing contest with Cody and Brah; but Jason quits out of fear of being photographed. Dick alters a T-shirt cannon to fire a beer at Cody and Brah, hospitalizing them. After Dick reveals to Jason that he was a Green Beret, the two go to a nightclub with the girls. Dick gets into a fight with some men after they bully Bradley for his homosexuality. The next day, Jason bonds with Shadia and she tells him that she is going to live on a ship for a year. That night, the group does karaoke with the men from the night before. After singing a duet, Jason realizes he has feelings for Shadia and plans on telling her the truth, but before he can, Cody does an online search using information he saw on Dick's (still valid) driver's license, and tells Shadia that Jason is already engaged. Jason then gets caught with drugs which were planted by Cody and Brah, and is thrown into jail again. The next day, Dick bails him out and tells Jason that his real reason for the trip was to convince Jason not to go through with the wedding. A disgusted and furious Jason leaves Dick and drives back home.

During his wedding rehearsal, Dick hacks into the computer system, revealing embarrassing photos of Jason. Jason says that he cannot marry Meredith, who reveals that she had an affair with his cousin, though Jason does not hear this information due to poor acoustics; his cousin instead quickly telling him that Meredith has told him to do what he wants to do. He, Dick, and Pam, with David (Dick's son and Jason's father), use Pam's ice cream truck to catch up with the bus that Shadia is on as she is leaving. Jason and Shadia kiss, and he gets on the bus with her, while David and Dick, previously estranged, reconnect. Dick goes to his house in Boca Raton and finds Lenore there waiting for him, and they have sex. Dick and Lenore get married and have a baby boy named Richard Jr., and Jason and Shadia are named the godparents.



The film's script was featured in the 2011 edition of the Black List, an annual listing of well received but unproduced scripts in circulation.[8][9] Prior to De Niro's casting, Jeff Bridges and Michael Douglas were considered for the starring role.[10][11]

De Niro's casting along with that of Zac Efron was confirmed September 2014.[12] Zoey Deutch joined as the female lead,[4] followed that January by the casting of Adam Pally and Aubrey Plaza.[7][5] Plaza said that she was inspired by the role because it was different from the characters she normally played, and was also inspired by the fact that the role let her engage in physical comedy.[13]


Principal photography began in Atlanta, Georgia on January 5, 2015.[14][15] On February 4, filming took place in McDonough.[16] On February 9–10, filming took place at The Grand Atrium at 200 Peachtree in Atlanta.[17] Preliminary shooting of the film ended on February 13, 2015, in Hampton, Georgia.[16][18]

After filming officially ended, it was again scheduled to resume from April 27 to May 5, with the cast and crew filming spring break scenes on Tybee Island, Georgia.[19] On April 27, filming resumed, with Efron preparing for his scenes.[20] Production officially ended on May 9, 2015.[21]


On October 29, 2015, Lionsgate released the film's first poster and trailer.[6] The first poster was a parody of the poster for Mike Nichols' 1967 film The Graduate.

The film was initially set for a Christmas 2015 release,[22] but was pushed to an August 12, 2016, date.[4] It was then brought up to February 26, 2016, before finally being moved to January 22, 2016.[5][23]


Box office[edit]

Dirty Grandpa grossed $35.5 million in the United States and Canada and $69.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $105.2 million, against a production budget of $11.5-25 million.[2][3]

The film was released in North America on January 22, 2016, alongside The 5th Wave and The Boy, and was projected to gross $10–13 million from 2,912 theaters in its opening weekend.[24] The film made $4.3 million on its first day and went on to debut to $11.1 million, finishing 4th at the box office.[25]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 11% based on 137 reviews and an average rating of 3.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Like a Werther's Original dropped down a sewer drain, Dirty Grandpa represents the careless fumbling of a classic talent that once brought pleasure to millions."[26] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 21 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[27] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[28][29]

Dirty Grandpa received negative reviews for its gross-out and shock humor that was also considered as sexist,[30] homophobic and racist.[31] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said that even though humor is subjective "It can be definitively stated that Dirty Grandpa is utterly unfunny." Scheck is especially critical of the uneven tone of the film, and says it "doesn't even have the courage of its anarchic convictions, frequently abandoning its tasteless humor to indulge in sentimental scenes".[32] Nick Schager of Variety wrote: "This contemptible fiasco is not only comfortable courting laughs through ugly mockery of minorities, but also doesn't even have the courage of its own crass-as-I-wannabe convictions."[33] Mike Ryan of Uproxx said: "Dirty Grandpa is the worst movie I've ever seen in a movie theater. Burn it."[34] He later also picked it as the worst film he had both reviewed[35] and seen.[36] Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood said: "Dirty Grandpa, is not just the worst movie [De Niro] has ever been in, but it may be the worst movie anyone has ever been in."[37] Glenn McDonald of Indy Week said: "The awful, ugly Dirty Grandpa is the comedy equivalent of torture porn ... In fact, in the dizzying moments after being bludgeoned by this miserable specimen, I was convinced it's among the worst movies ever made."[38] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film zero stars, and wrote: "If Dirty Grandpa isn't the worst movie of 2016, I have some serious cinematic torture in my near future."[39]

Mark Kermode, on his BBC Radio 5 Live show, said, "after Dirty Grandpa I did feel genuinely unclean, I wanted to go and have a shower, because it's just so revolting. Somewhere in hell there is a multiplex playing this on a double bill, with Movie 43 and Entourage."[40] He would later go on to brand it his least favorite film of 2016.[41][42] Glenn Kelly of RogerEbert.com said: "The actor Bela Lugosi appeared in some landmark, perhaps even great, films at the beginning of his Hollywood career in the 1930s. ... Lugosi's final film was 1959's 'Plan 9 From Outer Space,' frequently cited as the worst film ever made. The cinematic landmarks of De Niro's career include films such as Coppola's 'The Godfather, Part II' and Scorsese's 'Raging Bull.' He has been featured in a good number of very bad films in the years since. But this? This might just be his own 'Plan 9.'"[43]

Jesse Hassenger of The A.V. Club gave the a grade C- and called the film tired, was critical of the writing and direction. Hassenger was positive about Plaza's performance and said "she and De Niro appear ready to run away together into a better movie." He concludes "There's a certain perverse brilliance ... to a movie that creates a longing for a foulmouthed Aubrey Plaza/Robert De Niro romcom."[44] Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail gave the film 2 out of 4 and wrote: "It's the direction, not the script, that really kills the picture, as Mazer limps along from the chugging contest to the half-naked conga line to the car chase without ever raising the laughs he needs from the comic set pieces or the tension he needs from the dramatic developments." Taylor says the film is not sweet enough, or raunchy enough, and "seems unlikely to satisfy any audience" and concludes that De Niro's former fans will be left pleading for better.[45] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 2 out of 5, and said it offered "Some laughs – and some unintentional eeeuuuwwws." Bradshaw wrote: "This grossout comedy takes De Niro fans into a new emotional phase that I can only call 'post-despair'. We are past being astonished and horrified. ... We are just numbly resigned to the great man continuing to do things like this".[46]


At the 37th Golden Raspberry Awards, it received five nominations, for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (De Niro), Worst Supporting Actress (Julianne Hough and Aubrey Plaza) and Worst Screenplay, but did not win in any category.

Award Category Subject Result
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Picture Bill Block Nominated
Michael Simkin Nominated
Jason Barrett Nominated
Barry Josephson Nominated
Worst Actor Robert De Niro Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Julianne Hough Nominated
Aubrey Plaza Nominated
Worst Screenplay John M. Phillips Nominated

Home media[edit]

Dirty Grandpa received a DVD and Blu-ray release on May 17, 2016. The Blu-ray edition featured an unrated version of the film, including an audio commentary, a making-of, a gag reel, and three featurettes.[47] It was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on June 12, 2018.[48]


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  2. ^ a b c "Dirty Grandpa (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  3. ^ a b FilmL.A. (May 2017). "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Yamato, Jen (December 9, 2014). "Zoey Deutch Joins Zac Efron, Robert De Niro In 'Dirty Grandpa'". Deadline. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Yamanto, Jen (January 9, 2015). "Aubrey Plaza Joins Zac Efron, Robert De Niro In 'Dirty Grandpa'". Deadline. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
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External links[edit]