In Grudge Match, we see the two legends with probably Hollywood's finest boxing pedigrees -- Robert 'Raging Bull' De Niro and Sylvester 'Rocky' Stallone. Engaged in a head-to-head fight, you would expect the duo to provide for a scintillating performance. However, as a critic put it, Grudge Match is winners take all and losers bought tickets.
As The Detroit News' Adam Graham says, "the jokes in this in-ring comedy land with an embarrassing thud, and the script is as wobbly as a punch drunk fighter struggling to stay on his feet. Sadly for the filmmakers, it’s the audience that will throw in the towel long before the final round."
Bill Goodykoontz of Arizona Republic tells the audience to put the iconic roles essayed by De Niro and Stallone out of their minds. "If you plan to see Grudge Match, it’s best that you put those memories out of mind. Far, far out of your mind. This is a wretched movie, trading on characters we revere, yet doing nothing to honor them. Director Peter Segal tries everything he can to recapture the magic of the earlier movies, but to no avail. It’s all rather sad," he says in his review.
Mike Olsen of LA Times, meanwhile, has a word to say about the stalwarts' performance. "At times it seems as if De Niro and Stallone are performing in different movies. De Niro chuckles his way through the role with the same deprecating self-regard as many of his recent comedies. Stallone has a few unexpectedly strong dramatic scenes opposite Kim Basinger as the woman who got between Razor and the Kid, showing the genuine soulfulness that has often made Stallone a compelling performer even in his worst movies," he says.