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The War with Grandpa

Depending on where you live you still may not even have the ability to go to a movie theater, even if you'd be otherwise willing to do so. However, if you can make it to the cinema, you can take in the new Robert De Niro comedy The War with Grandpa. That's a thing you can do, though to be honest, most critics would not recommend it. The movie is getting pretty well reamed by critics right now, with nearly all of them tearing into the film for its dumb, boarding on cruel, comedy, that just doesn't work.

I wrote the official CinemaBlend review of The War with Grandpa myself and I honestly appear to be one of the few to go a little light on the film. To be sure, it isn't good. It's a dumb movie that most adults will hate. Though I do think the young audience the film is geared towards will find more to enjoy. In the end, the movie is pointless, but that doesn't mean nobody will like it...

Younger viewers not particularly concerned with character motivation or logic, or just anybody who’s a fan of physical comedy like old men falling over or losing their pants, will certainly find there are laughs to be had.

The War with Grandpa sees Robert De Niro as Ed, a recently widowed man who goes to live with his daughter so that he's not alone. However, this means that Ed's grandson needs to give up his bedroom and move to the attic, a decision that leads to war between the two which takes the form of escalating pranks.

As I said, it seems that I was a tad kinder to The War with Grandpa than most other critics. The San Francisco Chronicle found the film completely without merit, giving the film zero stars. The pranks that take place in the movie are, quite frequently less funny, and more mean spirited, giving the whole thing a very odd tone that just makes the whole movie feel a bit twisted...

Exactly how this is supposed to be funny is in no way ever communicated to the audience. What we get, instead, is the spectacle of a repellent, nasty brat repeatedly tormenting an old man whose wife has just died.

On the other hand, Variety largely found the various pranks to be less cruel and more simply lame. The connection to Home Alone is obvious as the various traps can get oddly elaborate, more so than you'd expect either party to actually be able to design. But there's just no humor, or teeth behind any of it...

But the combat is neither funny nor intense. The War with Grandpa is like Home Alone replayed as a tit-for-tat battle of logistical booby traps that never rises above the innocuous slapstick benign.

Nobody thinks The War with Grandpa is a good movie, that would be a bridge too far, but I'm certainly not the only one that found a little bit of value there. The Wrap found the movie to be way below the talents of the cast, which in addition to Robert De Niro somehow also includes Uma Thurman and Christopher Walken among others. It is below them, but it still has them in it, and that's something...

Seems like the sort of brightly-lit disposable family comedy that fills the Disney Channel schedule, only with an insanely overqualified cast.

The War with Grandpa is actually opening in theaters today, which may be the film's biggest problem. If this was a movie you could go flip on your TV right now to watch, you might not feel like you wasted your time, but it's certainly not a movie to go rushing to a theater to see.

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