(US - 2013)
Directed by Peter Segal. Written by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman. Cast: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, Jon Bernthal, LL Cool J, Anthony Anderson, Paul Ben-Victor, Barry Primus, Camden Grey, Griff Furst, Jim Lampley, Michael Buffer. (PG-13, 114 mins)
GRUDGE MATCH caps off a busy 2013 for stars Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, but it's too bad they couldn't have teamed up on a more inspired project. They worked together before, on 1997's underappreciated COP LAND, a film that's just gotten better over the years, but this finds them squarely in a safe, predictable, "geriatrics behaving badly" comedy that gets bogged down with forced, feel-good blandness and a plethora of jokes that fall flat due to lack of humor or just bad timing on the part of the actors. And, my God, the montages! "What Makes a Good Man" and "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy? Check. "Boom Boom" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters? Check. "Here I Come," by The Roots? Check. And sorry, but there's no excuse for a boxing movie with De Niro and Stallone to contain a montage set to Phillip Phillips' "Gone Gone Gone." None. Well, I guess it could be worse. They could've used "Home."
THE BIG WEDDING), and there's enough laughs that it's not a complete waste of time for completists, but it's among their most instantly forgettable, especially with the run Stallone's been on lately with the hugely entertaining EXPENDABLES franchise, BULLET TO THE HEAD, and ESCAPE PLAN.