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Relationships between grandkids and grandparents aren’t always the Hallmark kind. And in the Tim Hill film, The War with Grandpa, we understand. We’re in for some family tensions.

Peter (Oakes Fegley) must give up his room and move to the attic when Grandpa (Robert De Niro) arrives to stay.

Peter ain’t happy. After bats and mice further trouble his attic existence, he enlists his sixth-grade buddies to concoct a war. He loves Grandpa, sure, but he wants his room back. Battles in this war include everything from shaving cream to 2020-style dodgeball.

Familiar faces abound in this flick. De Niro anchors well the pathos as a widower who misses his wife and must contend with aging. I trusted this character to work toward a better relationship with Peter. He isn’t a petty guy.

Grandpa’s cronies include the award-winning Jane Seymour, Cheech Marin, and Christopher Walken. Fifty-year-old Uma Thurman plays his daughter with Oakes Fegley as the grandson. Fegley, too, is becoming a familiar face. He starred as Pete in Pete’s Dragon and as the young Theo Decker in The Goldfinch.

Director Tim Hill is known for family fare like Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties and Alvin and the Chipmunks. The screenplay is based on American author Robert Kimmel Smith’s book by the same title. Smith, famous for Chocolate Fever, died from natural causes in April.

During the film’s 94 minutes, I laughed repeatedly and hard. I certainly liked this film better than some other reviewers. In fact, I found it a perfect return to Saturday matinees.

To lighten COVID stress when theaters open, don’t miss this family fun and its kooky and tender moments. After all, we can use some laughs right now. (101 Studios)

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