Review: The War With Grandpa
Family comedy films are something lots of people would take advantage of when it comes to finding a subtle movie as a family outing for both children and adults. If one must take Robin Williams’ Hook for example, then the one must see the magical, but funnier experience where all the kids can enjoy their laughs together. The War With Grandpa is based on the novel written by author Robert Kimmel Smith. Spongebob Squarepants alumnus Tim Hill fills the role as the director of the film while legendary actor Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull) stars as the children’s grandfather named Ed.
The War With Grandpa focuses on a young boy Peter who works to get his grandfather to move out of his room after he moves in with his family by orchestrating a plethora of devious pranks until his grandfather fights back by knowing all the pranks and tricks up in his sleeves.
While the film is written by screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, the dialogue seems a bit dry on and pretty much confusing when it comes to having dysfunctional families that don’t get along each other, the director and the writing teams have been circling the main focus and the scenes involving the chemistry between De Niro’s and Fegley’s characters to fit the role for an father-and-son dynamic duo. The chemistry really brings much more depth and produces strong, yet rebellious character developments like how the filmmakers have studied the relationships between Homer and Bart Simpson in the television series.
Speaking of television series, director Tim Hill, having been working on Spongebob Squarepants and other cartoon shows, uses his comedy-gag routine from his shows to craft a feature film that produces some scenes that not only involves the increasable relationship between those two characters mentioned above but also gives a little fundamentals on the things that they enjoyed doing while they’re young.
With that in mind, the director did provide some blueprints on this film with several concepts and intakes from the film that can be highly comparable like the unlikable Going in Style (starring Michael Caine), Daddy’s Home (with Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg), and other comedy films people can name them. While this film gives lots of laughs though, the story didn’t flow straight on for that matter when it comes to crafting a film that fits the genre for comedy films for both families and children.
Here in the film we have Oakes Fegley (2016’s Pete’s Dragon) who plays as Ed’s grandson named Peter who is forced to give up his room to his grandfather when he moves in. Child actress Poppy Gagnon stars in the film as Jennifer, the youngest sister while Laura Marano (Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally) portrays Mia, the older sister to both Peter and Jennifer. Actors Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle portray as the parents for Peter, Mia, and Jennifer with Thurman being heavily portrayed as Ed’s daughter as well.
Also appearing in the film are Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Walken who are portrayed as Ed’s friends who assist him in the battle of pranks against Peter.
The War With Grandpa is an average 95-minute movie. I didn’t love it or hate it, I only focused and enjoyed the comedy too much and the performances from Robert De Niro and Oakes Fegley mainly, but some actors' performances portraying as family members do not really help with those two characters, especially Thurman’s role as a mother which gives me a center of distaste. I believe the director adds too much input rather than focusing on other characters’ personas in order to make a good movie that kids enjoy. I really don’t want to tell, I mean, it’s an old-school comedy routine dated back in the 1990s and 2000s. It would be a difficult choice to choose this film to get rid of the stress in desperation.
(Review by Henry Pham)