Director Tim Hill’s “The War With Grandpa,” or “Dennis The Menace” meets “Home alone,” is another chance for Robert De Niro to play a grumpy senior citizen, when he’s not too busy whacking wise guys for Martin Scorsese. In this formulated slapstick, comedy, De Niro plays Ed, an independent aging senior who is faced with the reality that he can no longer drive, and is becoming increasingly frustrated with his local grocery store that has become fully automated.
Concerned with her father’s physical deterioration and refusal to move into assisted living, Sally (Uma Thurman) convinces Ed to live with her and her family. But ah, there’s the rub. Ed’s 12-year-old grandson Peter (Oakes Fegley), has to give up his room, thus war commences between the two. The once loving grandfather and grandson try to out prank one another with falling doors, superglue, a marble or two and trick ladders – you know the kind of mishaps in the real world that can cause contusions, various abrasions and unexpected trips to the ER.
Aided by an all-star cast Christopher Walken, Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour and Uma Thurman, “War With Grandpa” is a harmless and somewhat predictable comedy that ends with hugs, a few tears and life lessons. The 90-minute movie probably would be more enjoyable on Netflix or another streaming service in this lockdown pandemic world, but hey, one can always wait.
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