This one came out a few weeks ago but I literally had nothing else to do so I thought I would catch it before I went home for the night. I had heard some pretty iffy things about the film and that it was a big, stupid gross-out comedy with barely any redeeming qualities. In fact, my fellow reviewer and podcast partner gave it a pretty harsh review as well, saying that it was pretty much a throughly mediocre run-of-the-mill flick. Therefore, I went into this with very low expectations and… you know what? I had a decent time with it!
The film’s plot is fairly simple. Jason Kelly (Efron) is about to get married to a very controlling fiance (Hough) but first he must drive his grandfather (DeNiro) to Florida under the guise of his recently-deceased wife’s last wishes. However, it turns out to be a trick as DeNiro just wants to party and celebrate Spring Break by getting laid by a random college girl. Meanwhile, Efron meets up with a girl from his past (Deutch) and her sexual friend (Plaza). Hijinx ensue.
Yes, it is stupid. It is gross. It is entertaining! To start off with, don’t look to this movie and expect to see a great plot or clever twists or turns. What you can expect with this one is some fun acting from some pretty talented comic actors, especially in the supporting cast. There are some funny one-liners in the film as well and it helps that they were delivered by people with this level of talent. Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro have some fun chemistry and I definitely believed that they could be grandfather and grandson. DeNiro plays the dirty old grandpa fairly well (some of his lines were killers, my favourite of which being “you look like the keynote speaker at a butt-f***ers convention”) while Efron mostly plays it straight and stuffy but also pulls it off well. The supporting cast is filled with funny performances but the best ones come from Aubrey Plaza and Jason Mantzoukas as DeNiro’s college girl love interest and a local drug dealer, respectively. Plaza has some of the filthiest lines in a film that I’ve ever heard (of which I’m sure she came up with at least half of) but she pulls them off effortlessly. No matter how ridiculous her lines may be, Plaza always comes across as authentic. Mantzoukas plays a small role but is very funny. He just has a way of delivering silly lines that make me laugh.
There are obviously some flaws within the film. Like I mentioned earlier, the plot is not the strongest and it often gets repetitive at times. The majority of the film is Efron and DeNiro walking around Daytona Beach while DeNiro is trying to get laid and Efron is trying to stop him from acting crazy. You can only get so much mileage with that type of plot no matter how funny your performers or situations are within the film. Another thing that brings it down a bit are some strange character motivations. DeNiro is supposed to be this cantankerous old grandfather at times that seems a bit homophobic and racist but then he is tolerant and then suddenly he is bonding with people who tried to assault him only moments earlier. There are other characters that flip-flop with their emotions at a moment’s notice so don’t expect a lot of continuity in that regard.
Aside from it being a flawed film, this was still enjoyable and definitely what I would call a guilty pleasure. It was definitely better than I expected.
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)