GRUDGE MATCH (WB, 2013) D: Peter Segal, w/ Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro. Rating: NN; Blu-ray package: NNN Rating: NN
Take two aged stars who long ago had hits playing boxers (Sylvester Stallone with Rocky and Robert De Niro in Raging Bull), cast them as long-retired boxers lured back into the ring for the titular Grudge Match that's been pending for 30 years, and let the laughs ring out. Only they don't.
Stallone knows how to underplay for comedy and sympathy, and De Niro has his glib jerk down pat, but they have little to be funny about beyond the expected pre-game training and trash-talking promo appearances, sources of embarrassment for both actors and viewers.
Alan Arkin as Stallone's cranky, deadpan trainer, and kinetic motormouth fight promoter Kevin Hart raise the comedy quotient some, particularly in the few moments they play against each other.
Now pad the running time with cheesy sentiment involving Stallone and the girl he left behind (Kim Basinger) and De Niro's coming to terms with his estranged adult son.
The making-of docs focus on the climactic boxing match, which is fairly impressive, and the hardworking professionalism of the two stars. There's some fun in the Hart docs and deleted scenes.
EXTRAS Two making-of docs, two Hart docs, boxer interviews, alternate opening, two alternate endings, deleted scenes. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles.