By Britt Argo
The War with Grandpa— “Old School vs New Cool” is a dramedy with heart for the whole family to enjoy. It’s a good mix of “Home Alone” like slapstick pranks with a more sincere message of the importance of family. It’s worth sharing on the big screen with your kids or catching it soon on streaming later this year.
What It’s About: Based on the award winning book by Robert Kimmel Smith, The War with Grandpa starsRobert De Niro as Grandpa Ed, a recently widowed man, who is begrudgingly coaxed to move in with his daughter (Uma Thurman) and family to recoup from an injury. With limited space, he is given his grandson Peter’s room, forcing Peter to bunk up in the unfinished attic. Unhappy with the situation, Peter declares war with Grandpa and aided by his 6th grade friends, unleashes pranks and pratfalls to pressure Grandpa to give him the room back. Ed, needing a distraction from mourning his wife, accepts the challenge and “plays along” with this war, retaliating with his own pranks. Ultimately, he hopes his grandson will learn his lesson, and give up this war. Along the way, Ed tries to win him over by bonding with a fishing trip, and spending time with him. The war game becomes less about matching wits and winning, and more about doing something together until they get caught.
Why You Must Watch It: Robert DeNiro is the “Godfather” of playing the surly curmudgeon dad/grandpa who reacts to all the chaos around him. (Little Fockers, Dirty Grandpa, The Big Wedding). It’s nice that in this one, his character is a bit more mellow, and shows a softer side when trying to win over his grandson. The tone of this movie isn’t mean spirited. They make sure that whatever they do to each other, it won’t harm them, or affect the other family. Through out the movie, even though there are silly moments, it keeps its heart, and focuses on the grandpa and grandson bonding and getting to know each other better.
The supporting cast is fun to watch too. Robert De Niro (Grandpa Ed) brings in his heavy hitters to help with some of the battles. The highlight is the very funny Dodgeball game at Sky Zone—the 6th graders against De Niro, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour, and Cheech Marin. The best parts of the film are the buddy sessions with his friends. Walken especially enjoys playing the courageous adventurer of the group.
It was also a delight to catch the familiar places around Atlanta that they filmed the movie at. Another “Made in Georgia” film, the exterior of the family’s houses were filmed in the gorgeous tree-lined streets of Grant Park. The guys walk around the Beltline along Piedmont Park. Ed meets up with Jane Seymour, a cashier at Frye’s Electronics in Milton, and they battle at a local Skyzone trampoline park. I enjoy spotting scenes in movies where I have been to before, and with so many filmed here in GA and Metro-Atlanta, it’s an easter egg to find these sights.
Recommend : This is a PG family comedy film targeted at the elementary/ middle school group, but parents will enjoy this one too for the cast. If you liked Parental Guidance ( Billy Crystal & Better Midler), Cheaper By The Dozen ( Steve Martin & Bonnie Hunt), Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day ( Steve Carell & Jennifer Garner)—then you will enjoy The War with Grandpa.
Britt Argo, an avid movie fan for more than 30 years, sees an average of 150 movies a year in movie theaters. She is the marketing cooordinator at Area 51: Aurora Cineplex and The Fringe Miniature Golf-5100 Commerce Parkway in Roswell. 770-518-0977. auroracineplex.com & a51fun.com.