Survival of the fittest–and sneakiest
‘Dirty Grandpa’: Age of forbidden wonders
Zac Efron is the objectified grandson to Robert De Niro’s wild widower granddad in the endearingly risqué “Dirty Grandpa,” directed by Brit filmmaker Dan Mazer, who’s no stranger to crude, adult humor—his previous credits as screenwriter include “Borat” and “Bruno.”
It’s irreverent, immature and, well, sexy: Efron and his body double get in different stages of undress, and Aubrey Plaza surprises as a lustful and scantily clad character—it sure has its share of eye candy to complement the rather simplistic, odd-couple buddy plot.
There are dumb, needlessly lengthy jokes about genitalia and bodily functions. Still, there are some genuinely hilarious gags. De Niro is cozy as the sneaky, potty-mouthed ex-soldier Richard/Dick, who uses his fuddy-duddy lawyer grandson Jason (Efron) as his wingman.
Shortly after meeting a trio of friends—the hippie photographer Shadia (Zoey Deutch), the openly gay Bradley (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and the vacuous nymphet Lenore (Plaza)—they go on dizzying, booze- and drug-enhanced parties, where the elderly man is easily the coolest and most fun guy!
Julianne Hough, who plays Jason’s high-strung and controlling fiancée Meredith, also amuses—and is appropriately infuriating!
‘The 5th Wave’: Young adult mishmash
Chloe Grace Moretz is credible as a young action heroine, having played the violent vigilante Hit-Girl in two “Kick-Ass” films—so, casting her as the gun-toting, if vulnerable young renegade Cassie in “The 5th Wave” makes a lot of sense.
However, the sci-fi-adventure is a mishmash of recent youth-power flicks—“The Hunger Games,” “Maze Runner” and “Divergent”—and fantasy mush-fest “Twilight.” This time, though, the villains are aliens dubbed The Others, creatures that body-snatch and control adult humans.
It starts fantastically enough, as the alien invasion happens in waves, the visuals reminiscent of the better-crafted disaster movies of recent years.
But it quickly devolves into another film about youngsters forced to turn savage. Despite being utterly formulaic, though, the film by J Blakeson has things working for it. Moretz is watchable as a stealthy, guilt-ridden survivor.
She has a functional love triangle with two costars: muscular pretty-boy Alex Roe, who plays Evan, the mysterious ally fighting his “programming”; and Nick Robinson, who plays Cassie’s old crush, Zombie—the actor pleasantly projects a teen Ryan Gosling vibe when he broods.
The film ends cleanly and safely, though, nearly devoid of true and lasting danger, and with little mythology for the viewer to care about.
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