Grudge Match (2013)
Directed by Peter Segal
Geriatric comedies are one of my favorite subgenres. Something about seeing acting veterans saying lines meant for people half their age is comical to me. See “Stand Up Guys,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” or “Last Vegas.” That is, I thought they were funny…until I saw Sylvester Stallone in one.
30 years ago, at the height of their careers, rivals “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) and “Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) fought two boxing bouts. They split. Unexpectedly, Razor retired from boxing shortly before their tie-breaking match. Was he afraid he would lose? Did he have another motive? Now, in an effort to make some money, boxing promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart) wants them to fight one last time to finally reach some sort of closure.
Two teleplaywrights, Tim Kelleher (“The Arsenio Hall Show”) and Rodney Rothman (“Late Show with David Letterman”), team up to create one of the most disappointing comedies of the year (and this year has been filled with comedies that didn’t live up to the hype). They give us a few witty one-liners, mostly from Hart and Alan Arkin (playing Razor’s trainer), but mostly we get a bunch of predictable jokes with few laughs. Only a script as humorless as this could ruin a movie where Rocky and Raging Bull fight on-screen decades after they made the best boxing movies of all time.
With a script so poor, nobody can do much with it. Especially not Stallone, who doesn’t have a funny bone in his body. Normally, these sorts of movies can be so bad it’s laughable – that’s how they work! “Grudge Match,” however, just provokes a big ol’ facepalm. Maybe next time, guys.
“Grudge Match” is in theaters now.