"Old Dogs": Movie Review (2009)

11/29/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Old Dogs"

Directed by Walt Becker, written by David Diamond and David Weissman, 88 minutes, rated PG.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Old Dogs" is a film that desperately wants to entertain children while at the same time maintaining a "wink, wink" attitude with the adults in the audience. Frankly, any adult who finds this film humorous may be at the same level of intelligence as their child and someone should call child services immediately.

Robin Williams and John Travolta have been best friends for life, and they work together as well. Just as they're approaching a huge partnership with a deeply stereotypical Japanese corporation, Williams learns a one-night stand he had seven years prior resulted in twins. Their mother was mixed up in some sort of activist scheme and has to go to jail for two weeks, so Williams decides to take the kids in until she gets out.

What follows runs the low-brow comedy gamut, with the film finding humor in racism (Williams gets a pretty heavy tan--and every hispanic or Middle-Eastern person in the airport he visits attempts to speak to him in their language), scatological jokes (multiple references to diarrhea, farting, etc.) and morbidity (Travolta's face being paralyzed into a manic smile during a meeting of bereavers). Not to mention the frequent appearance of tired slapstick comedy and numerous shots of golf balls hitting men's sensitive region, with co-star Seth Green being the target for most of this.

Not to say this is nothing but bad comedy--there are plenty of really shameless and downright insulting attempts at drama as well, one of which happens near the end and is so offensive in its intent to manipulate the audience that I nearly walked out of the theater then and there. It's a spoiler, so I won't go into it, but it really is one of the most detestable moments in film this year.

The film is directed by Walt Becker, who brought us 2007's "Wild Hogs," another film about aging and being young at heart. I haven't seen that film, but based on this one, I expect nothing but incompetence, because that's all that can be seen here. Leaving the writing and acting alone for just a moment, Becker's direction is so stale and sloppy that even if the rest of the film had been great, it still would've been nearly impossible to watch.

Probably the most disappointing thing about the film is that the two leads, who are really wonderful actors with the right material, have to subject themselves to such humiliating situations at such a time in their careers. Matt Dillon makes a quick cameo appearance in which he plays a Boy Scout leader and says, "We're just here for the kids." The line speaks on so many levels here. Do such otherwise respectable actors really need to resort to a film of such terrible quality, though, even for the kids?

The film is probably most notable for being the final appearance of the late Bernie Mac. The studio delayed the movie's release following his death out of respect for the actor. If they really respected his memory, they wouldn't have released the travesty at all.

Grade: F

View the trailer for "Old Dogs" below.  Thoughts?

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  1. Sheila said...

    I so agree with this. The movie was awful. I only went because my young son wanted to go, and I took him right out about 30 minutes into it. Horrible movie.

    Sheila W.

  2. Henrietta said...

    OH, This makes me so very sad! We've been looking forward to seeing this movie since we love both Travolta and Williams. What a bummer!

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