Review: ‘The War with Grandpa’ Starring Robert De Niro

The War with Grandpa
Cheech Marin, Robert De Niro, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken in ‘The War with Grandpa’ (Photo Courtesy of 101 Studios)

Considered to be one of the best actors of his generation, two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro has starred in some of the greatest films in cinema history including The Godfather Part 2, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull. His latest film, The War with Grandpa, targets families and kids and is sure to be regarded as one of the worst films in De Niro’s illustrious career.

De Niro stars as Ed, a retired home builder who’s mourning the recent loss of his loving wife. Ed’s daughter, Sally (Uma Thurman), is understandably worried about him living all alone – especially after an incident at a grocery store – and insists he move in with her family. It turns out everyone’s happy to have grandpa moving in except for 12-year-old Peter (Oakes Fegley) who has to give up his room to make way for his granddad. Peter feels really put out because his new room’s the cobweb-invested, leaky attic.

With the help and encouragement of his friends, Peter sets out to wage war on Ed in order to get his room back and send the old man back to his own house. Peter and his buddies come up with a series of mean – and eventually dangerous – pranks to drive Ed out. However, Ed isn’t going without a fight. Peter’s got his friends but Ed also has a bunch of pals willing to join the fray. Ed teams up with Jerry (Christopher Walken), Danny (Cheech Marin), and his new friend Diane (Jane Seymour) to wage an all-out war against his grandson.

Juvenile and moronic, The War with Grandpa is a halfwitted disaster that can’t be salvaged even by an A-list cast. It’s mean-spirited and filled with mindless pranks and ridiculous behavior. The talents of Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Cheech Marin, and Jane Seymour are completely wasted in this wreck of a “comedy.”

Directed by Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks), The War with Grandpa is loaded with outlandish and improbable slapstick bits that fall flat. Backed by an annoying musical score, this disappointing comedy plays out like a live-action cartoon. The few quiet and attempted tender scenes between De Niro and Fegley feel forced and out of place.

The War with Grandpa tries to be a fun romp but instead is utterly pointless. Look for this one to wind up on lots of “Worst Films of 2020” lists.


MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, rude humor, and language

Running Time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Release Date: October 9, 2020