The War With Grandpa

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Comedy;
Box Office $18.39 million;
$22.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for rude humor, language, and some thematic elements.
Stars Robert De Niro, Oakes Fegley, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Laura Marano, Poppy Gagnon, Cheech Marin, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour.

Based on the children’s novel of the same name by Robert Kimmel Smith, The War With Grandpa is an odd little comedy that seems more mean-spirited than it turns out to be.

Robert De Niro stars as Ed, who moves in with his daughter (Uma Thurman) after an accident. When he’s given the room of his grandson, Peter (Oakes Fegley), this upsets the young lad. And since he’s just learning about the U.S. Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence in school, he sends a note to grandpa declaring war unless his room is returned.

Grandpa has a few chuckles with his pals over the note, but doesn’t take it too seriously, prompting Peter to escalate things to a full-on prank war.

Ed, understanding his grandson’s frustration but egged on by his friends, pulls Peter aside and they work out a series of rules for when and where they can prank each other — the most important one is not letting Peter’s parents or other siblings find out about it — so it never gets beyond harmless fun.

That is, until Peter’s younger sister has a Christmas-themed birthday party that gives the filmmakers all sorts of excuses for mayhem.

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 The War With Grandpa is filled with occasional laughs and should serve as a nice diversion for families looking to pass the time. In addition to the pretty standard back-and-forth prank format, the film also heavily relies on a “Family Guy”-style flashback structure — in which a character brings up something that happened, prompting the film to cut to a scene of the humorous incident occurring.

There’s also some clever stuff about the generational technology gap, as grandpa can’t figure out how phones and automated checkout machines work, while the Jenny the youngest granddaughter keeps asking if Ed wants to watch a movie on the tablet she’s always toting around.

The Blu-ray presentation doesn’t include any extras.

‘A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish’ Begins Production

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Blue Ribbon Content have commenced principal photography on A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The fifth installment in the “Cinderella Story” franchise stars Laura Marano of the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” as Kat, an aspiring singer-songwriter working as an elf at a local billionaire’s Christmas Tree lot, where she starts to fall for Nick (Gregg Sulkin), the lot’s new Santa. But her efforts to attend a prestigious winter gala with Nick are thwarted by her stepfamily. The cast also includes Isabella Gomez as Kat’s best friend, Barclay Hope as the billionaire, Johannah Newmarch as Kat’s stepmother, and Lillian Doucet-Roche and Chanelle Peloso as the stepsisters.

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The original A Cinderella Story in 2004 starred Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray and Regina King; Subsequent installments included Another Cinderella Story (2008), with Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch; A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song (2011), featuring Lucy Hale; and A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits (2016) with Sofia Carson.

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is written and directed by Michelle Johnston, who also directed the fourth installment. She also choreographed the first four and served as a producer on the past three. Dylan Sellers returns as producer, a role he has served since the first film.