By Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
With a stacked Cast, The War with Grandpa but Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken, and even Cheech Marin theoretically should pack a mean laugh. The Comedy however, which is geared to a younger audience, suffers from a bit of an identity crisis that holds it back from being truly great.
The Movie focuses on Ed (Robert DeNiro) who on the urging of his daughter Sally (Uma Thurman), moves into her home with husband Arthur (Rob Riggle) and their two kids, Peter (Oake s Fegley) and Jennifer (Poppy Gagnon). This is where the tensions arise as Sally, not thinking her father can get up the stairs, surrenders Peter’s room to him, while relegating her son to the attic. The antics and pranks then ensue between Ed and Peter, with the winner getting awarded the prize of Peter‘s bedroom. Friends then get involved, including Ed’s pals Diane (Jane Seymour), Jerry (Christopher Walken) and Danny (Cheech Marin). Despite some carefully laid-out rules, everyone gets caught in the crossfires of this family war.
Writers Matt Ember and Tom Astle (Failure to Launch, Epic, Home and Get Smart) go a little lighter here to mixed results. In its insistence on being safe and gearing to a younger audience, there are missed opportunities in utilizing this fine Cast for what they’re great at. Instead, DeNiro channels his Focker persona again where had could totally have gone all in with this sharp instincts. Walken and Marin deliver some antics, but it feels a bit flat.
The War with Grandpa makes an honest effort to pack-in some laughter and heart into its lean 94 minute running time. Kids might find a bit of amusement in these antics and get some inspiration even, but more could’ve been done to gear this to its older audience.
VVS Films release The War with Grandpa on Digital and On-Demand Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
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