Linda Cook review: ‘War with Grandpa’ insults actors, audience


I wanted to cry.

Robert De Niro has earned two Oscars and, justifiably, has been nominated for more.

Uma Thurman was nominated for an Oscar for her iconic role in “Pulp Fiction.”

Christopher Walken earned an Oscar for “The Deerhunter.”

It hurt me as a longtime cinephile to see these performers in the atrocious “The War with Grandpa,” an awful movie based on a book with the same title. The book appears to be far more appealing than this unfunny, coarse and mean-spirited film touted as “family entertaintment.”

De Niro is Grandpa, who, mourning his wife, struggles to live on his own. So he goes to live with his daughter Sally (Thurman) and her husband Arthur (Rob Riggle,) and their kids including Peter (Oakes Fegley, “Pete’s Dragon.”)
Grandpa ends up taking Pete’s room, with Pete going to a spot in the attic, which has bats and mice.

These folks have money. Couldn’t they have come up with a better solution? No, not in a dopey movie like this.

With a handwritten letter, Peter declares war on his grandfather.

At first, Grandpa and his friends think it’s kind of funny, and he puts up with Peter’s pranks. But finally Grandpa can’t take anymore, and each begins to set more and more elaborate traps for the other involving a snake, hot sauce in coffee, collapsing doors, and a drone.

You’ll anticipate the result of every single setup long before it resolves. This is the sloppiest, lowbrow writing I’ve seen in a so-called comedy in some years. It’s like a throwback to some canceled-after-one-episode 1970s sitcom.

To see Walken and De Niro, who starred together in “The Deerhunter,” reduced to this is infuriating, although I’m sure they took the roles just for a lark and the money.

Speaking of money … don’t waste yours on this. Instead, take your family to the amazing 2017 “Coco,” now playing on the big screen.

It’s a beautiful film that deserves to be enjoyed again.

Rated: PG for violence and coarse humor.

Running time: One hour and 34 minutes.

1/2 out of 4 stars

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.