“The War with Grandpa”
Directed by: Tim Hill
Starring A-list actors that you would never believe would star in a film like this, including Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Jane Seymour, Christopher Walken and appearances from way too many other critically-acclaimed actors, “The War with Grandpa” is the first family-oriented release of the post-quarantine theatrical reign. The film tells the story of a boy and his grandpa who used to be close but are now forced to share a bedroom together, resulting in the two family members scheming against one another with teams composed of their friends.
I would maybe excuse such a stellar Hollywood cast for starring in this piece of garbage of a film had the plot been enticing. However, to be completely blunt: This plot is perhaps, even more stupid than the movie itself. Not only is the plot juvenile, but the film also had a budget of $24 million, most of that money likely used to pay off Robert De Niro for even agreeing to appear in this horrible movie. That is way too much money to spend on a family film that the producers knew would not do well with critics. The fact that the film’s plot is childish is not even the issue at hand, because believe me, I know its target audience is families. But, the film was not even funny enough to make kids laugh, and I genuinely contemplated leaving the theater multiple times throughout due to that sad fact.
The film is more than two hours long, with a runtime almost equal to that of other post-quarantine box office rival, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” (2020). No film that isn’t a Marvel film or better yet, a critically-acclaimed Nolan film should exceed two hours of an audience’s time — especially a PG-rated comedy. The film is a “delayed” release, which we expect of all films in the nature of COVID-19, so perhaps, the final edits and release date of the film had something to do with the grueling runtime. Regardless, the film would still be a waste of time had it been only a standard one hour and 40-minute runtime.
Since the film is geared toward an audience of all ages, the film’s humor contained the typical familial brand of bodily function jokes and slapstick comedy tropes. This humor sometimes, very rarely — but sometimes — works, but it just did not click with this particular movie. I am ashamed to admit it, but I, at the age of 21-years-old, still enjoy the traditional family comedy, especially around the holidays. But not one thing in this film resonated with me humorously, causing me to yawn at least a hundred times during its duration.
Finally, let’s discuss De Niro. Oh, Robert De Niro — an American treasure at this point. Given the years of rumors that this man is difficult to work with and not the most outgoing and kind, my question is: how on EARTH did they get him to agree to star in this garbage? Alongside his award-winning roles, he has also had some box office blunders, but none as bad as this. Dull performance aside, I do think that his leading role in this catastrophe is what ultimately drew me and undoubtedly, other audience members, in to giving this film a try. But boy, how disappointed we were by you, Mr. De Niro.
I genuinely cannot find the words to describe how terrible this film was, but I do give the studio and the filmmakers props for even putting the film out in the first place. Obviously, it was a major risk releasing it in a time where very few people are still going to the theaters, but at least they took the risk, and hopefully, the film made some little kids happy. I doubt it, but I hope that it did for their sake. Thus, I’m giving this film a 3 out of 10 instead of a 0 out of 10 because it was the only new film out of the two released in theaters so far, and that is not good.
Support your local theaters, even if it means paying to see trash cinema like this.