Hey, De Niro! Stop Ruining Your Career!
One of the world's greatest actors is in one of the worst films of all time
He is one of the most revered, esteemed — and just plain great — movie actors of his generation. You can’t say the name “Robert De Niro” without thinking of Oscar-winning classic films.
“Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Goodfellas,” and “The Godfather, Part II” all helped build his career and solidify his tough-guy, leading-man status. Even the more recent drama “Silver Linings Playbook” earned him an Oscar nomination, his seventh overall.
But as Oscar week has us thinking about fine filmmaking, De Niro’s latest effort is … “Dirty Grandpa”?
From the title to the premise, it’s all pretty filthy. De Niro plays Dick, whose long-suffering wife has just died. He wants to drive from his home in Georgia to Florida. So he enlists grandson Jason, played by Zac Efron, to take him on the road trip.
The raunch starts right off the bat, as Efron’s wife makes him take her small pink car for the trip. De Niro’s comment upon seeing the car: “Let’s get in that giant labia you drove up in and get out of here.”
And, later, in a heartfelt moment, De Niro explains to Efron: “The greatest gift a grandson could give his grandfather is a hot college girl who wants to have unprotected sex with him before he dies.”
Which is exactly what happens — because we see De Niro, 72, rolling around in a bed with actress Aubrey Plaza, 31, who says, “I want you to tear open my bra like it’s a Social Security check.”
It all gets worse from there. Trust us.
The movie scores a low 8 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics have been brutal. Deadline.com’s Pete Hammond said it “was not just the worst movie he has ever been in, but it may be the worst movie anyone has ever been in.”
“The film seems designed to see just how much further degradation Robert De Niro’s legacy can take,” writes The Los Angeles Times’ Katie Walsh. She goes on to note that De Niro seems to be in a “late-career backslide into increasingly distressing dreck.” And he seems “perfectly happy to do it.”
At age 72, with a net worth of $200 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, De Niro, it would seem, could be choosier. But then, maybe at 72, you’re happy to take a role that involves having sex with a woman 40 years younger than you.
Maybe we can we blame De Niro’s problems on his decision to make more comedies in recent years?
The two top-grossing movies of his career, according to Box Office Mojo, are “Meet The Parents” in 2000 (84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and “Meet The Fockers” in 2004. Plus, his sweet and fairly well-received rom-com with Anne Hathaway last year, “The Intern,” did well at the box office for him, ranking as his 11th highest-grossing movie. And he was spotted this week on the New York set of a new movie, “The Comedian.”
All of which probably explains why he signed up for “Dirty Grandpa” in the first place. Someone made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. But he might stop a moment next time he’s given a script to consider his legacy.