Blu-ray, DVD Release: The War with Grandpa

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Dec. 22, 2020
Price: DVD $17.96, Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo $22.96
Studio: Universal

Check out Irv’s review of the family comedy The War with Grandpa from Oct 7:

Four years ago, Robert De Niro starred in Dirty Grandpa, a raunchy R-rated comedy in which he played a pleasure-seeking senior who takes part in spring break festivities with grandson Zac Efron.

In The War with Grandpa, De Niro plays a different elderly character. He’s a retired builder named Ed who takes residence with daughter Sally (Uma Thurman, The House That Jack Built) and her family, and finds himself engaged in domestic combat with Sally’s sixth-grade son Peter (Oakes Fegley, The Goldfinch), who’s upset he had to give up his room for his grandfather. The tension between grandfather/grandson turns into an all-out rivalry in which the two try to out-prank each other, and often get their friends involved in the ongoing battle.

Shot back in 2017 and only now seeing release, the film is a bland and formulaic reworking of elements from such crowd-pleasers as Home AloneNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Parenthood, as well as a framing device that seems to be inspired by a “Fish Out of Water Hollywood Screenplay 101” class.

You see, Ed can’t get used to the electronics that son-law Peter (Rob Riggle, 21 Jump Street) and daughters (Please Stand By‘s Poppy Gagnon and Saving Zoe‘s Laura Marano) use, and the remote control car Peter uses to annoy Gramps confounds the old fellow.

Adding at least some interest to the proceedings is a solid supporting cast that includes Christopher Walken (The Jesus Rolls) and Cheech Marin (Machete) as Ed’s friends and allies at “war,” and Jane Seymour (TV’s The Kominsky Method) as a supermarket clerk who takes a liking to De Niro. Unfortunately, all of them are called on to display their physical prowess running, jumping, trampolining and more—and the substitution of stuntpeople is clunky and obvious.

Director Tim Hill has done some good work before—mostly in the animated space as he’s one of the masterminds behind the long-running SpongeBob SquarePants show. What’s missing in The War with Grandpa is that program’s irreverence and offbeat sensibilities despite the top-notch talent involved. This is one war where nobody really wins.

Buy or Rent The War with Grandpa

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.