“The War with Grandpa” is directed by Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever) and stars Robert De Niro (Joker, The Irishman), Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Batman & Robin), Rob Riggle (The Hangover, Holey Moley), Oakes Fegley (Pete’s Dragon, The Goldfinch), Laura Marano (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Austin & Ally), Cheech Marin (The Lion King, Cars), Jane Seymour (Live and Let Die, East of Eden), and Christopher Walken (The Jungle Book, The Deer Hunter). This film centers around a young boy who is excited to see his grandfather move into his home. Although things go sideways when the boy finds out that his grandfather will be taking his room, and he has to move to the attic. Peter declares war against his grandfather, and does whatever he can to get his room back.
This movie is directed by Tim Hill, a name from my childhood, who quite frankly, I did not know was a name from my childhood. He directed “Hop,” which I did not see. He wrote “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” which I did see. In fact, when it comes to that franchise in particular, he was heavily involved. He also co-write and directed what could arguably be the worst television movie in history, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.” I didn’t want to watch it, my grandmother made me do it, so the fact that I was ever exposed to that hairball is most certainly not my fault. Although throughout his years as a creator, much of his work has been specifically for families. I can’t say he’s had the best track record, I mean when you have 2007’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” on your resume, it doesn’t exactly scream “masterpiece.” Then again, he’s been around for “SpongeBob SquarePants,” back when the show tried, so there is that. Had I known who was involved with this film behind the camera, I probably would have had a bad taste in my mouth. But I would have possibly seen the movie anyway because I need content. Or if I had no review blog to begin with, I would have ignored this film all together. Sure, it has Robert De Niro playing a grandpa, and De Niro is a solid actor. But didn’t he play a grandpa four years ago? Remember “Dirty Grandpa?” That sadistically awful travesty on a platter? Yeah, I would rather shove an iPhone up my butt than watch that again!
With that said, I did watch the trailer for “The War with Grandpa” a few times, and I was fairly amused from one time to the next. It did get a laugh out of me the first time I watched it, so I thought, “Okay, this could work.” And did it work? Sort of.
The concept of this movie is fantastic. It’s entertaining for adults, relatable for kids. In fact, this movie sort of reminded me of “Home Alone,” if they took one concept from the movie, mixed around with it, and had a field day with it. All the scenes where the main kid is at war with his grandfather makes the price of admission worth it. There are also a few unrelated scenes that manage to make me laugh as well. There’s one character played by Cheech Marin who’s trying to feel young in his old body, he plays the part well. Rob Riggle is pretty charming, although ever since I’ve seen him commentate for “Holey Moley” I don’t know if there is a way I cannot display unbiased appreciation for him. There’s also a pretty fun scene that takes place in a Sky Zone.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is relatively mediocre. You know how there are some people who obsess over Christmas like it is the meaning of life? Look, I get it. It’s a fun holiday. BUT CALM DOWN. There is a young girl in this movie who is utterly obsessed with Christmas, that she sings carols 24/7, wants to watch movies like “Frosty the Snowman,” and keep in mind, it’s not even that time of year yet as far as this movie is concerned! Also, I get this is a kids movie, but do they seriously make holiday themed bouncy houses? You’d figure with the cold weather that would not normally be feasible! This movie does not exactly insult your intelligence, but it most certainly makes you question your purpose on earth, as if 2020 hasn’t done that enough. I hate Christmas songs around the holidays because they all sound the same and they REPEAT ALL THE TIME, the fact that I have to hear a couple in October gets me a little antsy! It’s not even Halloween yet! This script feels like it’s written by an 11-year-old. I am all for a movie where a boy and his grandfather go to war over a bedroom. A BEDROOM. It’s a silly concept, but this movie has too much silly behind it to make it worthwhile!
And sure, the girl who was obsessed with Christmas got on my nerves, but you want to know who also got my nerves quite a bit? The mother in this freaking movie! For the record, I felt indifferent for the mother character for the most part, but whenever she’s dealing with her grown daughter, that’s when the wheels start to flail off the wagon. I say that because the grown daughter in this movie has a boyfriend, her mother doesn’t trust her, yada yada yada. It’s cliche, annoying, and an all-round eye-roller. Seriously, by the end of this movie, this plot line in particular becomes monstrously annoying!
This movie has a great cast, an interesting concept, some okay scenes, solid chemistry, but it will probably be deemed an unmemorable mess by yours truly. There is really nothing to write home about when it comes to this movie. A lot of it is ordinary, been there, done that. Maybe kids will watch it a second time, but they take this extraordinary cast and waste all of them! These are talented people! Critical acclaim! Academy Awards! BAFTAs! The whole nine yards! And they’re all wasted in this family film that will probably belong in the $4 DVD bin at Walmart one day! Robert De Niro! What happened?! You were in TWO Academy Award movies last year! Now we get this! I also heard this movie was originally supposed to come out in 2018, but it kept getting pushed back and now this is what we get. This movie was shot in May 2017. That was BEFORE “The New Mutants!” The “X-Men” spinoff that finally came out! Yeah, f*cking crazy! That other film, “The New Mutants,” shot from July to September of the same year! So is “The New Mutants” going to continue being the butt of the joke when it comes to delays? Because I think “The War with Grandpa” may be a worthy competitor!
In the end, “The War with Grandpa” has everything a middle of road, whimsical live-action family film has to offer. Adults acting goofy, entitled children, a quick pace, and extremely forced moderate laughter. This felt like “Daddy’s Home” if it didn’t take place during Christmas. Completely different storylines, but the vibe is pretty much the same! Unlike many other movies that I have seen and didn’t like, I did not hate myself upon finishing it. To be real, there are a couple vastly entertaining parts, but they’re bogged down by some ear-screeching, cringe-inducing characters and a lackluster script. I am going to give “The War with Grandpa” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review! If you want to read more of Scene Before’s great content, be sure to check out my review for Amazon’s “Time.” Also, I might see another movie this weekend. I’ve heard some solid things about “Yellow Rose,” so I might check that out ASAP. If you want to see more content like this, follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account and check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The War with Grandpa?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite memory with a grandparent? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!