Comedy has everything except humour

Oakes Fegley (left) and Robert De Niro in The War with Grandpa (CNS/101 Studios)

Humour goes AWOL during The War with Grandpa. While this flimsy comedy is acceptable for older kids and their elders, they’re unlikely to buy into its unrealistic setup. Source: CNS.

Ed (Robert De Niro) is a recently widowed retiree, proving himself incompetent to live on his own. His misadventures include knocking over his mailbox while backing his car out of the driveway and becoming so befuddled by an automated checkout machine that he walks out of the grocery store without paying for anything.

Ed’s daughter Sally (Uma Thurman) eventually convinces him to move in with her family and gives him the bedroom previously occupied by his preteen grandson Peter (Oakes Fegley). Finding himself exiled to the attic, Peter is sufficiently resentful over the supposed injustice of his situation that he starts the conflict of the title, thus initiating a battle of ever-escalating practical jokes.

There are no surprises amid the slapstick pranks and pratfalls that ensue. Nor do supporting turns by Cheech Marin, Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour succeed in boosting the amusement quotient. A half-hearted effort to wedge a serious anti-war message into the silly proceedings falls equally flat.

This leaves viewers free to consider just how ill-mannered and disrespectful Peter is, the inevitable climactic reconciliation notwithstanding.

Reviewed by John Mulderig, CNS.

The War with Grandpa: Starring Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Oakes Fegley. Directed by Tim Hill. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated PG (Mild themes and coarse language). CNS advises some material may not be suitable for children.

FULL REVIEW

The War With Grandpa (CNS)

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