The War with Grandpa

The War with Grandpa ★★½

Not The Deer Hunter reunion you expected... or wanted. But this war was less devastating than anticipated. It's fairly fun mindless entertainment and nothing more. Sure beats Russian roulette... or watching Dirty Grandpa, which is more agonizing in comparison.

While everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and their paychecks, it's crazy to think how all this talent ended up here. But de Niro, Walken, Thurman, Seymour, and Cheech have been in much worse movies. Helps that most of these people are likable despite the obvious set-ups. The script must have been written by a bot forced to watch 1000 hours of family comedies and then computed this. Try to change my mind on that, I insist. The distorted reality it operates in generates many laughs, intended and accidental. Alongside standard kids movie tropes are sly references to the old geezers' greatest hits and a few surprising adult jokes. Target gags may be hit-or-miss but it's always hilarious to think this film represents how Hollywood presumes tweens and boomers would act. When the film gets to its soft and sweet side, it's not entirely convincing but it's sufficient enough to pass. Also, is it just me or do the sentimental music cues sound like "Deborah's Theme" from Once Upon a Time in America (another de Niro film)?

Once the dust has settled, The War with Grandpa is a minor victory of sorts. One: it's better for families than Playing with Fire. Two: it's a modest success in the COVID-age as it likely would have been otherwise. Three: Harvey Weinstein's grubby fingers will never touch another film after this (which ultimately was rescued after his company shut down anyways). At the end of the day, it's a serviceable outlet for escaping the world for a bit, being content with, and then moving on with your life. So it goes.

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