The War With Grandpa: Everything You Need to Know
9/7/2020 • 3 min read
If we need anything in 2020, it’s a good laugh. THE WAR WITH GRANDPA stars Robert De Niro as the titular grandfather who, after being widowed, moves in with his kid's family — and takes over his grandson's bedroom.
Sixth-grader Peter (Oakes Fegley) isn't going to take this sitting down, and so it's war. This broad family comedy looks like exactly the film that we need right now – a good-natured, slapstick farce that will make every member of your family split a seam (with laughter, of course).
Cute and Hilarious
With a plot built on pranks and conflict and a young star, THE WAR WITH GRANDPA looks like a late-era John Hughes movie. Think of the movies with kids in the lead and loads of physical comedy, with HOME ALONE as the poster child.
There are too few movies in that mold these days, so any example that comes around is a minor miracle. And THE WAR WITH GRANDPA is directed by Tim Hill, whose career is filled with projects that appeal to the whole family and are very, very funny. He worked on SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS for many years and directed MUPPETS FROM SPACE, HOP, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS and the new SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN. All movies that expertly mixed the silly and the sweet for maximum effect. In short: he gets it.
Robert De Niro Is Funny Again
Last year was rightfully a time of huge praise for Robert De Niro, who delivered a career-capping performance in THE IRISHMAN. He also appeared, in a brief supporting role, in the blockbuster, superhero-adjacent JOKER. These were immaculate performances, deeply nuanced and evocative. But they were not a laugh riot. In fact, it’s easy to forget just how funny Robert De Niro is, in movies ranging from MIDNIGHT RUN to MEET THE PARENTS to JACKIE BROWN.
De Niro is just as gripping in goofy, screwball comedies as he is in dark dramas, which speaks to his oversized talent, his insane range, and his chameleonic ability to become the character. And so it’s very exciting to see him embrace his sillier side again. This isn’t even the first time he’s played a comic grandfather. Back in 2016, he co-starred in DIRTY GRANDPA, a movie that was way funnier than anyone expected it to be. Grumpy grandpa Robert De Niro? Bring it on.
A Young Challenger
Opposite De Niro is 15-year old Oakes Fegley, who was only 12 when the movie was shot. (WAR WITH GRANDPA was originally set to be released by the now-dormant Dimension Films.) As a pre-teen, Fegley had early roles in movies like FORT BLISS and THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, in which he played Jason Bateman's character as a boy. The young actor's true breakout was in quietly powerful remake of PETE'S DRAGON, released by Disney in 2016. In the title role of Pete, Fegley was sensitive and convincing as an orphaned boy raised wild, who has a unique bond with an actual dragon.
Fegley has gone on to work with impressive filmmakers like John Crowley (THE GOLDFINCH) and Todd Haynes (WONDERSTUCK), all of which has prepped the actor to take on a head-to-head battle with a veteran heavyweight like Robert De Niro.
A Roster of Supporting Faves
Even if you think that THE WAR WITH GRANDPA is a goofy comedy, it’s hard to argue with its superb supporting cast. In addition to Oakes Fegley, Uma Thurman plays the daughter of De Niro’s character, and Rob Riggle plays her husband. And Christopher Walken and Cheech Marin play the best buds of De Niro’s character, which means they get front row seats to watch the war unfold. Rounding out the cast are Jane Seymour and Faizon Love. That is a pretty unbelievable cast for a movie that, we are assuming, will feature De Niro getting knocked around in some not-entirely genteel ways. That makes THE WAR WITH GRANDPA that much more appealing.
THE WAR WITH GRANDPA opens on October 9!
All images courtesy of 101 Studios.