starring Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Dermot Mulroney
written by John M. Phillips
directed by Dan Mazer
by Walter Chaw It's one of those boilerplates about an uptight guy on the eve of marrying a harridan taking a road trip with a free spirit to discover that maybe he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life (or the few years until he secures a divorce--the subtext of these things is always curiously traditional) selling out to The Man. Jason (Zac Efron) is that potential sell-out. You can tell because he dresses like the villain from an Eighties college sex comedy, is a corporate lawyer, and is engaged to a materialistic bimbo (Julianne Hough) who will justify his unconscionable hedonism by being a secret slut herself in his absence. The best of these films is its prototype, obviously (Capra's It Happened One Night), but the one I return to most often is Bronwen Hughes's curiously sticky--if only to me--Forces of Nature. The high concept this time around is that De Niro is the free-spirit road-tripper in a role that asks him to, literally at one point, be rapping grandmother Ellen Dow from The Wedding Singer. The imposition of this masterplot is really the only thing separating the film from "Jackass" spin-off Bad Grandpa, just as one word is the only thing separating the two concepts. De Niro's Dick (and you do indeed get to see his dick--though admittedly, it's probably a stunt dick) is a former Green Beret, by the way, which explains/doesn't explain why he gets a Presidio fight sequence against a bunch of black hoods who've been taunting a gay black guy Dick has also recently been taunting.