The War with Grandpa: Raise the White Flag

Robert De Niro and Oakes Fegley in The War with Grandpa. Courtesy of 101 Studios

The War with Grandpa is a cringe-worthy comedy that doesn’t really break new ground on the genre nor offer anything we haven’t seen before.

The antics in The War with Grandpa draw along similar lines to Home Alone.  A key difference being that the two at war are family members.  In spite of the cast, this film simply isn’t good.  While Rob Riggle is a natural comedian, Robert De Niro has shown in both Meet the Parents and the Analyze films that he is perfectly capable of being funny on screen.  But De Niro’s performance alone isn’t enough to save the film.  And no, not even the heart-tugging sentimentality in the film’s closing moments is enough to win me over.

Peter (Oakes Fegley) may be the average sixth grader but his world comes crashing down when recently widowed Grandpa Ed (Robert De Niro) moves in with the family.  This forces Peter to give up his bedroom.  He does what anyone would do in the situation: fight for his territory.  Peter brings his friends into the fight and so does Ed.  End counts on Jerry (Christopher Walken), Danny (Cheech Marin, and Diane (Jane Seymour).  While the two are at war with each other, Peter’s parents, Arthur (Rob Riggle) and Sally (Uma Thurman), are completely oblivious to what’s happening.  The same goes for Peter’s siblings, Mia (Laura Maurano) and Jennifer (Poppy Gagnon).  Sally just happens to suffer as a result of the war.

My not liking this film does not mean that I can’t acknowledge a good set piece.  The birthday party scene alone features some of the funniest hijinks you’ll see in all of 2020.  In fact, the party is honestly on brand for the year.  There’s another scene involving Arthur and Ed.  To describe this scene is to go into spoiler territory.  Unfortunately, viewers are unable to unsee what happens.  I’ll just leave you with that.

At this point in the year, any low to mid-budget films that can get released is getting released.  That’s not to say anything about whether or not a film is award-worthy.  This one certainly isn’t.  Not that I have to really stress this but I don’t think it’s worth risking your life to see any film in theaters during a pandemic.  Regarding this particular film, I especially do not think it’s worth risking your life to see this film.  The comedy is a bit too much on the cringe-worthy side.

The War with Grandpa should raise the white flag.

SCREENWRITERS: Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember
CAST:  Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Oakes Fegley, Laura Marano, with Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Walken

101 Studios opens The War with Grandpa in theaters on October 9, 2020. Grade: 2/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.