The War With Grandpa – PG – 1 hr 34 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Sunday October 18, 2020
AMC Kent Station 14 – Kent, Washington
#37 new movie seen in theater in 2020
Robert De Niro plays the Grandpa who takes over his grandson’s room. His daughter (Uma Thurman) moves him into their house because Grandpa is getting up in age and isn’t coping well with the passing of his wife. His grandson, Peter, is forced to move upstairs into the dark, bat and mouse infested attic. This, of course, is grounds for war.
Peter draws up a declaration of war and slides it under Grandpa’s door. He signs it as the Super Soldier. The real fun starts when Grandpa doesn’t just give in, he fights back by launching a series of pranks on his own. One of the war agreements they make is not to have any collateral damage, and yet the funniest parts of the movie involve this type of damage.
One example involves Uma Thurman and a policeman who pulls up beside her car. I laughed out loud at what transpired in one of these very well-timed scenes. It’s that physical kind of comedy that worked so well on I Love Lucy. There are shades, very light admittedly, of that here.
There are cliches in the story that can almost be overlooked like the middle school bully that takes out his angst on Peter and his friends. There are Grandpa’s friends, hilariously played by Christopher Walken (if only we had more of Walken!) and Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong!). This movie deserves a movie with just the three of these guys played robbing banks or something like Going In Style.
I didn’t realize this was an adaptation of a novel, same name, by Robert Kimmel Smith. The screenplay is by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. No idea how faithful adaptation it is, differences, etc, so maybe somebody else there has read the book and can compare on that front.
Uma Thurman is competent as the mom and daughter. Rob Riggio plays Artie/Arthur the somewhat estranged son-in-law. The only characters with any real depth are Peter and Grandpa. They do grow throughout the film and while there is a fun battle between the two, both always seem to remember that they love each other.
As a movie, it worked better than I thought. This was better than the trailer, which had me thinking it would be another lame family friendly movie along the lines of Home Alone, but not nearly as good. You can hear Kara and I talking about the movie in our just left the theater car ride below. We do this after watching every new movie in theaters.
It has some genuine funny moments and provided an entertaining time at the theater. I can see why it was selling out with the reduced capacity theater. It’s the kind of feel-good movie that you can take kids to see. There aren’t a lot of other new movies out right now that are this family-friendly.
Kara really liked this and rated it higher than me. It surprised me enough to earn three stars and I added another half star for the ending that tied up several loose ends. There is also a nice message to the movie about the consequences of wars. A helpful lesson that parents can discuss with and help better educate their children on the way home.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kara)