REVIEW: ‘The War With Grandpa’: Good for absolutely nothing

REVIEW: ‘The War With Grandpa’: Good for absolutely nothing
The film stars Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman and Christopher Walken. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 March 2021

REVIEW: ‘The War With Grandpa’: Good for absolutely nothing

REVIEW: ‘The War With Grandpa’: Good for absolutely nothing
  • Underwhelming generation-clash comedy wastes the talents of its A-list cast

LONDON: Not long ago, any film boasting Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman and Christopher Walken among its cast would have been a license to print money. But the world is very different now in a number of ways — and “The War With Grandpa” acts as an unfortunate showcase for many of them.

Robert De Niro’s performances in “The Irishman” and “Joker” were a welcome reminder that, his recent fondness for gross-out comedies aside, he still has the ability to dominate a screen like nobody else. Sadly, the second half of De Niro’s career has been hallmarked by movies like “The War With Grandpa” — a bizarre, inane, contrived ‘comedy’ that serves only as a painful reminder that his career choices in the last couple of decades have often been ill-advised.




The film is directed by Tim Hill. (Supplied)

Admittedly, it’s not De Niro’s fault that “The War With Grandpa” was delayed by the collapse of the ill-fated Weinstein Company, nor that its theater release has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But he bears at least some responsibility for his part in this lackluster slapstick outing. De Niro plays Ed, a recently widowed former builder who, after a run in at the local supermarket, accedes to his daughter’s pleas to move in with her family. That means his grandson Peter (Oakes Fegley) loses his bedroom and is demoted to the attic. Peter decides to fight back and, for no apparent or good reason, declares war on his grandpa. What follows is an endless series of uninspired prank set-pieces where it’s hard to know who to root for. Both sides are equally unlikable.

Peter recruits his school friends to help, while Ed calls on old buddy Jerry (Walken), and new acquaintances Danny (Cheech Marin) and Diane (Jane Seymour). All of the adult actors in this film (Thurman and Rob Riggle round out the cast as Peter’s parents) seem confused by what’s happening, and it shows. Director Tim Hill can’t decide between full-blown slapstick or sentimental schmaltz, and he winds up opting for both, done badly.