In 1935 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy stared in a comedy called Tit For Tat, in which they exchanged nasty pranks on a guy named Hill who owned the store next to theirs. The War with Grandpa here in 2020 has the same premise but it’s between a grandfather (Robert De Niro) and grandson (Oakes Fegley).
Grandpa has lost his wife and his daughter (UmaThurman) decides he would be safer and better off living with her and her family. As one would expect grandpa is not happy with the idea of leaving his home, but he gives in and joins his daughter, her husband (Rob Riggle) grand son (Oakes Fegley) and two grand daughters (Laura Marano and Poppy Gagnon).
The living arrangements place Ed (DeNiro) in the room Peter (Fegley) lives in and the grandson is banished to the attic.
That location probably would be fine with most kids, having a floor all to himself, but Peter wants his room back and there are a few problems with bats and leaks in the roof.
The tit for tat begins quickly with cookies that have exotic substances in the center and shave cream that turns out to be foam crack filler.
Many of the tricks are comical to watch and will have the audience laughing, but after a while the film runs out of energy.
Each of the main characters have sidekicks that pitch in to add to the challenges that are placed on either Peter or Ed. De Niro has season actors Christopher Walken and Cheech Marin plotting with him and Peter has three of his classmates pushing him along in the various battles.
As is expected each member of the family as problems that are not serious but play a part in the script and each difficulty is nicely resolved at the end.
Some of the battles are fun to watch and kids will laugh out loud along with the adults in their party. But don’t expect a smoothly written script because it only works part of the time.