-An occasionally amusing and crass (but immature) comedy, and the most boring western of recent memory.

If you read my Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising review, you would’ve come across my rather fond feelings for Zac Efron, and this movie is no different, using the likability and new-found comedic charm to try him as the straight-man gone berserk in this road-trip comedy starring Efron and one of Hollywood’s best all-time actors, Robert DeNiro.

As DeNiro has transitioned into the older man phase of his career, he rarely puts down the tough-guy persona, which is what made his role in Nancy Meyers’s The Intern so amazing last year. Now, he’s back to being his brittle self, but this time in the most crass and offensive way possible. The two lead actors, and some of the hideously awful things that DeNiro says in this film are what makes it almost work, but even some funny dialogue can’t save the plodding plot or the need to turn a few funny lines into a feature length film.

Efron is about to get married to an uptight woman that he’s barely compatible with (Julianne Hough), and his grandpa (DeNiro) decides that he wants to get him away before he makes this choice, taking him on a country road trip where they bump into two college girls that are interested in them (Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch).

After the first forty-five minutes or so passes, the jokes that are built entirely on shock humor wear off, and there really isn’t enough of a story or good acting to recommend the film other than for a few laughs. It’s not awful, and it’s nice to see the rise of Zoey Deutch this year; she’s a lovely actress with charm and immense likability. Efron and DeNiro help, but it’s just not quite enough.

 

2 stars

 

Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Dan Mazer (I Give It A Year)

Starring: Zac Efron, Robert DeNiro, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza, and Julianne Hough

with: Dermot Mulroney, Jason Mantzoukas, and Jeffrey Chaplin

RT Score: 10%

 


There really isn’t much to say about Jane Got a Gun, other than don’t rent it.

It started as a Western reboot project from a reputable director, as Gavin O’Connor has done some good films, but after a bankrupt studio and two years of delayed releases; it takes on the shape of a film that largely seems unfinished. By wasting a good cast and omitting nearly all parts with the big villain of the film, Jane Got a Gun ends up being the worst Western of recent memory.

It began when Natalie Portman’s Jane left Joel Edgerton to go have a baby with Noah Emmerich, who was part of the gang that kidnapped her and her first child. The leader is John Bishop (Ewan McGregor), and when he finds out that Jane’s new husband was stealing from him, he sets his sites to kill Jane and her family.

The friendship that rekindles between Portman and Edgerton is completely out of necessity, as Edgerton is largely wasted in this film after a few years worth of building an excellent reputation as an actor. There wasn’t any possible way for this film to work out considering the production problems, but the real bummer is that nothing happens at all, and there can’t be a good review for a film that ends up being so uneventful.

 

1 star

 

Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Genre: Western

Director: Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Pride and Glory, Miracle)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Ewan McGregor, and Boyd Holbrook

RT Score: 42%

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