Robert De Niro is an acting legend. This is an indisputable fact. The man has been in some of the best American movies ever made, and regardless of what he does from now until he dies, he will always be remembered as a giant in the industry. But over the past fifteen years or so, he’s tried his hand at a lot of comedies, to varying degrees of success. The Meet the Parents franchise started out with some promise before fading into ridiculousness, Showtime (opposite Eddie Murphy) was a disaster, and his turn in Stardust was pretty laughable – and not always in a great way. He was solid in Silver Linings Playbook, but with things like Last Vegas and Grudge Match on his resume recently, let’s just say there has been much more “bad” than “good” when it comes to De Niro and comedy lately.
Perhaps teaming up with a younger comic presence will break him out of the slump. The Wrap reports that De Niro and Zac Efron will star together in a movie called Driving Dick Kelly (formerly titled Dirty Grandpa), which “follows a lascivious, recently widowed Army veteran (De Niro) who tricks his uptight grandson (Efron) into escorting him to Florida for spring break.” This should be a cool opportunity for Efron, who played the instigator in this year’s hit comedy Neighbors (in which he imitated De Niro, as seen in the header photo), to tackle something at the opposite end of the spectrum as an uptight kid who doesn’t want to play along with his dirty grandpa’s antics. Plus, he’ll be working with a living legend. Not a bad gig.
Driving Dick Kelly is written by John Phillips and will be directed by Dan Mazer, who has worked with Sacha Baron Cohen on “Da Ali G Show,” Borat, and Bruno, so he has his comedy bona fides. I’ve liked Efron since I saw him in the little-seen indie Liberal Arts, and we’ve already established De Niro’s “legend” status, so I’d like to see this turn out to be an enjoyable comedy. As always, time will tell. What do you think? Have high hopes for this one?
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