Ed (Robert De Niro) is getting older. His daughter, Sally (Uma Thurman), convinces him that it would be best if he moves in with her and her young family. The only problem is that their house isn’t quite big enough for an extra person. So Ed’s arrival means that 11-year-old Peter (Oakes Fegley) has to give up his room and move into the dusty old attic.
Peter is so annoyed that he declares war on his grandpa. At first, Ed ignores Peter’s declaration but Peter pulls some mean tricks, so Ed decides to retaliate. The rules of engagement are drawn up. It starts as a series of witty and comical pranks but soon escalates into total mayhem.
Peter and his Grandpa must find a way to make peace with each other. Not only do they find peace, but they also end up closer than ever.
War; family; growing older; slapstick comedy; pranks and practical jokes
The War with Grandpa has frequent slapstick violence for comic effect. For example:
- A jar of marbles spills onto the floor, Ed slips and falls roughly to the ground.
- Ed kicks violently at a security guard who’s trying to restrain him.
- Sally chases after a teenage boy. She pins him to the ground and holds her fist up to his face as if she’s about to punch him.
- Peter hides explosives in a chair. The chair explodes while an elderly man is sitting in it, shooting him high into the air.
- People get hit frequently and hard in a very rough game of dodgeball.
- Ed gets quick-set filler on his face and it starts to go hard. He begins hitting himself in the face to get it off.
The War with Grandpa has some sexual references and mild romance. For example:
- Three older men walk in a park. One ogles young women who are running past and says, ‘Those yoga pants are going to kill me’.
- Ed starts a relationship with a woman he meets in a store. There is some mild flirtation. They go on a date and hold hands.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The War with Grandpa shows some use of substances. For example, adults spike their own drinks with alcohol from a hip flask.
Nudity and sexual activity
The War with Grandpa has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- There are several scenes in which a character loses his pants and exposes himself accidentally.
- A teenage girl is constantly berated by her mother for having her boyfriend around and kissing him. In one scene they jump up from the couch as if they have been cuddling and don’t want to get caught. In another they’re caught kissing each other passionately.
The War with Grandpa has some mild coarse language and insults, including ‘damn’, ‘boobies’, ‘dumb’, ‘butt’, ‘junk’, ‘hell’ and ‘wise ass’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The War with Grandpa is a silly slapstick comedy that will give children aged 8-13 years a giggle. But we do recommend parental guidance for this age group because the slapstick violence and pranks could potentially cause severe injury or death in real life. These seem to have very mild consequences in the movie.
The main messages from this movie are that you shouldn’t glorify war, and that different generations have a lot to offer each other.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- playing by the rules.
- learning to make sacrifices for the good of others
- learning to compromise
- standing up to bullies.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- war and why it should never be glorified
- different generations and what they can offer each other
- pranks and practical jokes, and what can happen when you do pranks that could hurt people.