The War with Grandpa

The War with Grandpa

In Theatres: 
Oct 09, 2020
Running Time: 
94 minutes

It’s young versus old in Robert De Niro’s latest comedy adventure, The War with Grandpa, and after watching him in last year’s The Irishman, it’s a bit deflating to see him acting more his age and fool around playing childish games that rarely elicit the even slightest chuckle. It’s a film that’s too old for the kids and too juvenile for the adults, resulting in a mediocre film that’s more of a squabble than an all out war.


Ed (Robert De Niro) is beginning to feel his age, especially now that his wife is gone, and at the insistence of his daughter Sally (Uma Thurman), moves into their house so they can better look after him. Ed’s grandson Peter (Oakes Fegley) isn’t too excited about the house’s new family member, because Peter has to give up his superior room and move to the attic. Determined to get his old room back, Peter declares war on his grandpa, and an all out battle of pranks will decide who gets to sleep easy at night.


The problem with The War with Grandpa is its stagnant comedy. The jokes simply don’t land, and even worse, the film doubles down on them. Having Rob Riggle, who plays Ed’s son-in-law, accidentally see Robert De Niro’s junk is barely funny as it is but turning it into a running gag throughout the film is just painful. Same goes for Uma Thurman’s interactions with a cop at a stop sign or her constant yelling about her daughter’s boyfriend Steve. It all gets very old, very quickly. And since the film continues to go back to the same humor, there’s nothing else to rely on.


Even the pranks themselves are nothing to write home about. It’s mostly just Robert De Niro falling down in a variety of ways and then getting back at his grandson by destroying his technology. There’s little entertainment there. Things slightly improve when De Niro enlists the help of his older friends consisting of Christopher Walken, Cheech Marin, and Jane Seymour, but that is like using a bandaid to plug a hole on a sinking ship; it’s still going to go down eventually. 


The War with Grandpa would be better titled as The War with Your Patience because that’s the true battle that’s going on while watching the film. Even though the film is barely over 90 minutes, it feels almost as long as The Irishman. War is ugly. This film just plays it safe. 

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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