Grudge Match

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Grudge Match Movie Poster Image
Two legends duke it out in underwhelming comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The movie contains positive messages about the transformative power of forgiveness, the importance of knowing your parents, and the idea that age shouldn't keep you from doing what you've been called to do. Every character seems to have father issues they work out in the course of the movie.

Positive role models & representations

Razor is hardworking and generous, but he's also unforgiving for most of the movie. He realizes that if he'd forgiven and moved forward as a younger man, he wouldn't have wasted so much time being lonely and unable to do the sport he loves. Billy realizes he's made some huge mistakes as well and wants to get to know his biological adult son.

Violence

It's a movie about boxing, and that's a violent sport. De Niro and Stallone get into a couple of brawls with each other and in one scene with an MMA fighter. The boxing match includes close ups of bloody eyes and bruises. A man is extremely upset when he realizes his son was left alone in a bar. A tasteless joke: "somebody rape this guy already" when two men are jailed for the night.

Sex

Several references to a tryst that results in an unplanned pregnancy; a few kisses and embraces between Razor and Sally. There are jokes about age (the two men are supposed to be around 60), as well as sex/ oral sex, because a man's nickname is B.J. A boy asks what a B.J. is, and a man says "butterscotch jellybeans" and then goes on to make a innuendo-filled comments about how men "love butterscotch jellybeans." A woman comes on to a man and encourages him to leave a bar with her. They are later caught in the back of an SUV with their shirts off (her bare shoulders are visible).

Language

Language includes uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," "chickens--t," "a--hole," "bitches," "damn," plus exclamations like "Goddamn it" and "Jesus!" coarse euphemisms and colloquialisms for sex (BJs, banging, screwing, etc.), and insults like "loser," "jackass," "moron," "coward," "Webster" (in reference to a short black man), various ways to say "fat" and more.

Consumerism

Lots of product placements, mostly car companies: Dodge, Cadillac Escalade, Mustang, Audi, Nokia Lumia phone, AT&T, ESPN, HBO (HBO Boxing), Target, Adidas, Dancing with the Stars, Apple iPad, Carhartt, Under Armour, Us Weekly, Geritol, and more.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Billy owns a bar and adults are shown drinking a lot (Billy to excess). Billy drinks Scotch for breakfast. A young boy is left without supervision at a bar and watches adults drink, dance, and then he even plays quarters (without actually drinking).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grudge Match is a boxing comedy starring two actors legendary for their on-screen boxers: Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky). As one would expect from a boxing film starring older actors, there are a ton of age jokes as well as fights in and out of the ring (the two men are shown bloody and bruised by the end of the fight). There are a lot of references to weight, age, race, height, and sex (one character's name is B.J., which leads to a lengthy discussion of how much men like to "get" his name). One character is a borderline alcoholic, and the other can't let go of old hurts, but audiences will definitely cheer as the two epic actors get back in the ring.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymovie connoisseur January 7, 2014

Garbage!

The previews made this look like it would be an ok bit of comedy....it was tripe!!!! The story was shallow at best, the language was egregiously offensive...and... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 year old Written by1Neelie1 January 5, 2014

Don't take your child under 13 to see Grudge Match!

We, accidentally, took our 11 year old son to see this PG-13 movie and totally regretted it. I think the messages, language and actions were horrible. The previ... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byStevie111 December 29, 2013

Sort of Funny boxing comedy

It's a boxing movie, so people are beating on each other frequently, but more noticeably, there are crude sexual jokes and language that can get quite matu... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byshrekmaster December 25, 2013

Grudge Match Doesn't pack a big punch

Really, the movie is fine. The violence is just sports boxing and its barely brutal. There is only talk about sex and adultery and even though it plays a major... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the early '80s, two professional Pittsburgh boxers and consummate rivals dominated the sport: Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Sylvester Stallone). They both had undefeated careers, except for one loss each -- to the other. But after Sharp won their second head-to-head light heavyweight championship, he retired, leaving McDonnen waiting in vain for another shot to beat him. Thirty years later, a young boxing promoter, Dante Slate (Kevin Hart), hires both men to participate in a boxing video game, but when the men end up in a brawl that goes viral on YouTube, Dante has a brilliant idea: to host a GRUDGE MATCH between the two long-retired fighters. Razor reluctantly agrees and trains with his aging manager "Lightning" (Alan Arkin). Out of shape Billy, meanwhile, has trouble finding someone to train him, until his long-lost son B.J. (Jon Bernthal), an assistant football coach, introduces himself.

Is it any good?

This movie's pretty disappointing overall. There is a sort of movie magic in seeing two screen legends go toe to toe, like when De Niro and Pacino played a master thief and dogged detective in Heat -- but of course, Sylvester is no Pacino, and this is no Heat. Neither is it Rocky (despite the various references) or Raging Bull starring sexagenarians. As it is, neither man is particularly likable, and elements of the film (two different men drive rusted, beat-up cars in an age when cars are rust-proof; a man allows his newly met grandson to stay in the care of a bartender) are rather ridiculous.

But if you can keep in good spirits from the novelty of seeing De Niro and Stallone play 60-something boxing rivals, you will laugh a few times, particularly at the supporting characters played by Hart and Arkin, who are both genuinely funny actors. The boxing scenes are pretty uninspired, but given the actors' ages, that might have been for the best. Kim Basinger, still lovely at 60, co-stars as Razor's ex-girlfriend Sally, and Bernthal -- best known for his stint on The Walking Dead -- does his best as Sally and Billy's adult son. Are you going to sing "Eye of the Tiger" afterward? No. But if you stick it out through the credits, you will get a kick out of a cameo featuring real boxing rivals.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of boxing movies. Why are they such a significant percentage of sports movies? What are some of your favorites?

  • How does seeing Stallone and De Niro duke it out challenge your ideas about the "elderly" and how they should act?

  • Does violence in the context of boxing or MMA or other sports have less of an impact than other forms of violence? Why?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love sports

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate