Grudge Match is a frustrating movie. It takes Robert De Niro and Sly Stallone, two iconic screen legends, and puts them in painfully unfunny comedic scenarios for two hours, and expects you to love it.
Bob De Niro (left) and Sly Stallone make no attempt to hide the paychecks that they received for appearing in this movie
Directed by Peter Segal who made the hilarious third instalment of the Naked Gun movies and the passably fun 50 First Dates and Get Smart recently, Grudge Match is neither fun, nor funny, nor endearing, nor lovable, nor risqué, nor bold, and it is grating to the nerves because it tries to be all those things at once.
Stallone and De Niro, known for their boxing films Rocky and Raging Bull, are self-referenced so many times in the film it’s unbelievable. In one scene, Stallone even contemplates using beef as a punching bag like he sparred in Rocky. The intent was clearly to make fans of those old films happy. But the new film is so terrible, the flashbacks remind you how good the classics were.
Getting into plot details is futile because the ‘story’ is just a patchwork of ideas from the loony bin of Hollywood just to get De Niro and Stallone in the same frame together. Everything the film attempts is obscenely hollow and half assed.
The film is quite cringe-inducing in the ‘dramatic’ moments because you know the filmmaker is laughing as the camera rolls. There are awful attempts at romance with a love triangle involving a washed out Kim Basinger, followed by life lessons and parenting commentary, and it’s brutal to wait for the big fight in the finale. Even the production values are piss poor — the snow used to show winter seems hilariously fake. Not to mention the horde of sports movie clichés that the film tries to cash in on at every turn.
The acting isn’t Oscar-worthy either — both. De Niro, in particular, is to blame considering he has just done the wonderful Silver Linings Playbook and had a fun cameo in American Hustle, but going back to easy money in bad comedies. It’s quite surprising that he hasn’t signed up for an Expendables movie with Stallone — yet.