This is an archived article and the information in the article may be out of date. Please look at the history’s timestamp to see when it was last updated.
There was a time in the middle of the movie where I would watch these actors and think about how they played such mean characters in the 70s. Christopher Walken was playing Russian roulette in The deer hunter. Cheech Marin rode a motorcycle and smoked drugs with Chong. Jane Seymour was a Bond girl. And Robert De Niro – also in The deer hunter, but also a tough guy Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Godfather 2, and he concluded the decade with Angry bull.
Now he’s playing grandfathers. He was in Dirty grandpa (which was actually funnier than most critics attribute to it), and now this – The war with grandfather. So all of those cool actors I listed in the 70s are all 70 and play dodge ball with snotty kids. The idea of the director’s humor was that the old folks would try to do something physical, and the kids would say things like “No kicks in the nuts.”
Director Tim Hill, who has made a lot of children’s films (Hop, Alvin and the Chipmunks, SpongeBob SquarePants, Space Muppets, Garfield, etc.). And there’s nothing wrong with a children’s movie, but it’s so much nicer when they work for adults too. This film does not work for either. It’s so bad, I don’t know who I could even recommend it to. Maybe 14 year olds would like it, but no one else.
Peter (Oakes Fegley from The goldfinch and Amazed) is about that age and has declared war on his grandfather (De Niro) for taking his room. Maybe he should have fought his parents instead, since Grandpa doesn’t even want to live there and is actually a pretty nice guy. It was a smart decision to make him nice too. It’s just a shame how badly the rest of the script was written.
It was interesting that De Niro’s daughter was played by Uma Thurman. Not so long ago, she was playing her love in a movie (the much underrated Mad dog and glory). Her husband is played by Rob Riggle (Half brothers type “Catalina Winemixer”). The two big jokes with him are that he hates being called “Artie” and that he keeps seeing De Niro naked and cringe.
Once Peter started sabotaging his grandfather, the first thing I thought about was – it’s pretty petty and could possibly kill Pops. You have an old dude who falls to the ground after slipping on marbles, they could die. We might have laughed at some of these types of shenanigans in Alone at home, but that’s because the boy does this to two burglars, not a cute grandpa who’s great with all the grandchildren (and my wife and I thought he was prettier than he was) has been for years).
None of the other things that happen in this movie are the least bit funny. Uma Thurman always throws stuff out the window of her minivan and hits a motorcycle cop in the face. She’s dealing with a Christmas-obsessed girl (and throws a Christmas-themed birthday party). She also has a teenage daughter that she continues to try to block. It would make sense if the girl went out late at night to ‘study in the library’, but other times you can’t understand her rules. For example, she won’t let her boyfriend attend the Christmas themed birthday party. Why?
I also couldn’t understand why his character didn’t want Grandpa on the phone. She kept scolding him when he talked to one of her friends.
The jokes in this movie were all so bad. One of them has a Snickers bar on the restraint of a child who has been left in the backseat of a car. The kids think it’s poo, until one of them eats it (this kind of joke was best done with Bill Murray in Caddyshack).
Other jokes involve De Niro not being able to understand a cell phone or computer. One of the reasons his film Trainee was working, were they not relying on handy fruit like that.
This movie wanted to be a Meet the parents meets Alone at home. Instead, it’s like Wild pigs, less motorcycles.
It’s the best cast, in the worst movie, of the year.
Suggest a correction