Fuggedabout Seeing ‘The War with Grandpa’

Usually when a film finally comes out three years after its original release date, it’s a bad sign.

“The War with Grandpa” stars Robert De Niro as a newly widowed man who moves into his daughter’s house, only to get into a prank war with his grandson (Oakes Fegley). Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, and Christopher Walken also star as Tim Hill directs.

This film was originally due out in October 2017, and was then moved several times over before landing on October 2020, due to studio shake-ups and The Weinstein Company closing its doors. Meanwhile, Robert De Niro has had an interesting filmography in recent years, with things ranging from the great “Irishman” to the awful “Grudge Match.” He has also started his own Grandpa Cinematic Universe, between this and “Dirty Grandpa” (and you could toss “The Intern” in there for good measure). He has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has “crippled” him financially (his lawyer claims he may “be lucky” if he makes $7.5 million this year), so we can maybe expect more cheap family films or “Meet the Fockers 4” down the turnpike, and if they’re anything like this then it will be a sad twilight for one of our prestige talents.

De Niro seems to be giving at least some effort, which is to be commended, and the blooper reel in the credits backs up that he probably has fun making movies like this. It isn’t a bafflingly dedicated performance like his “Irishman” co-star Al Pacino gave in “Jack and Jill,” but it is still likely more energy than a project like this deserves.

“The War with Grandpa” is one of those bad movies that isn’t painful to watch, it is just a whole lot of nothing. There really isn’t any momentum, and even the big climax confrontation at the end of the film really doesn’t seem like a big deal. I understand this film is meant for kids (they don’t really make too many live-action films for pre-teens anymore), but that doesn’t mean the jokes have to be this lazy. Something like “Big Fat Liar” or “Kicking and Screaming” (which are both huge guilty pleasures of mine) have jokes that make a 20-something like me chuckle to this day, and “War with Grandpa” only gave me a few laughs (that being said, there are two very funny bits in here, I will give the film that).

Look, there isn’t much to say here. Will kids enjoy this? I mean, probably; people get hit in the groin and fall off ladders. But is it worth going to a theater for? Heckkkkkk no. I wouldn’t even say it’s worth putting on if it comes on cable, but there are worse ways to shut your kids up for 94 (very long) minutes. If Martin Scorsese was critical of Marvel movies not being real cinema, I can’t wait to see what he has to say to his ole friend Bobby about this.

Critics Rating: 4/10

101 Studios

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