It’s Funny When Your Friends Get Old

Grudge Match isn’t your typical sports movie. Sure there is some boxing, but the movie focuses more on the relationships of life instead of the sports.
 Grudge Match pits Robert De Niro against Sylvester Stallone. The two are retired boxers who have held a grudge even though they game is over. Stallone’s character Razor has spent the majority of his money on his coach and makes animals out of scrap metal in his spare time. When he is laid off, Razor makes some money with a video game. The easy money gig gets complicated when he comes face to face with his rival Kidd. The two exchange blows and their fight go viral. The hype gets the two a real gig: facing off in the boxing ring to still who is really the champ.
Critics complain that the movie relies too much on old people jokes, but the whole idea of age and humor is central to the story. It’s hard not to make constant cracks when the boxing stars are 67 and 70. The brilliant Alan Arkin is unapologetic and a more vulgar and male version of Betty White. The combination of Kevin Hart and Arkin is especially funny as the young and old collide. The movie is just pure fun. The only trouble with the humor is Stallone. He is not good at witty humor and his lines would have sound better coming out of Ray Ramon’s mouth.
For something so fun, it does have some depth and drama. The drama is best handled by Jon Bernthal. Bernthal is Kidd’s estranged son who deals with the tension between his real father and his mother. Bernthal is full of emotion and love and gives fierceness as a coach that Razor’s side does not have. In fact, during the fight, Bernthal looks like he would gladly beat up Razor himself. He and De Niro have great chemistry and their scenes are touching.13091901_Grudge_Match_20
Grudge Match is like Real Steel; the theme is not about winning a sports match. It explores the relationships between men and women, parents and children, colleagues and co-workers. These movies are often off putting to sports fans. Sure, most of the story is easily deducted: relationships are rekindled, families are reunited but it all ends happily. And sometimes we need that happiness as an escape from real life.
Grudge Match is a fun movie that has a plot. The characters develop and we learn even old men can change their ways.