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Movie review: 'Grudge Match'

Published December 24, 2013 7:37 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As old as the stars are in "Grudge Match," it's the jokes that are ancient and wheezy.

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro star as Henry "Razor" Sharp and Billy "The Kid" O'Donnen, former boxing rivals (as shown in clips that morph footage from "Raging Bull" and "Rocky") who still can't stand each other 30 years later. When Dante Jr. (Kevin Hart), the son of their former promoter, shows up with an offer of a fight, the working-stiff Sharp is reluctant to take it — while O'Donnen, a womanizing bar owner, needles Sharp into signing on for the rematch.

Thus begins an endless stream of geriatric jokes and training montages, occasionally interrupted by a sappy backstory about how Sharp's then-girlfriend (Kim Basinger) gave birth to O'Donnen's son (Jon Bernthal), who's now helping his long-lost dad train.

Except for the occasional one-liner by Hart or Alan Arkin (as Sharp's crusty trainer), director Peter Segal ("Anger Management") can't generate any laughs or even a pulse.

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'Grudge Match'

Opens Wednesday, Dec. 25, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language; 113 minutes.