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Total Crap92.86%

2 reviews, 2 user ratings

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Old Dogs
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by William Goss

1 stars

I’ve seen a good three hundred movies so far this year, and 'Old Dogs' is quite possibly the worst of the lot (well, so far).

Robin Williams (far better in this year’s World’s Greatest Dad) and John Travolta (far funnier in this year’s The Taking of Pelham 123) star as two life-long buds and business partners. Williams is lonely and Travolta is the lothario, a partnership that led the former to unwittingly father a set of twins on the latter’s whim-tastic trip down to Miami seven years earlier. Mom (Kelly Preston, Travolta’s real-life wife) now reunites with Williams just in time to say: a) these kids are yours, b) I’m going to jail for two weeks due to some tree-hugging trespassing type of behavior, c) I don’t care about your Big Business Deal, and d) I know just how to get that artificial tan black-face right off your skin before the next scene. (The tan, the miracle – they both just happen to happen, as is the case with most incidents in this movie.)

And so we’re off, with this wonder duo being mistaken for either grandparents or a gay couple wherever they go. Oh, and Williams doesn’t know how to hug his daughter (Ella Bleu Travolta, real-life daughter of you-know-who) at bedtime! Oh, and he doesn’t know better than to wait for his flatulent son (Conner Rayburn) outside the stall either! Oh, and Travolta hires Bernie Mac to control Williams as a literal ‘human puppet’ because this fifty-something can’t fathom pretending to have tea with his daughter! (At least they filmed this early enough for Mr. Mac to find a grave comfortable enough to spin in.)

Oh, and the kids mixed up their prescriptions, so Williams is abusing his lackey (Seth Green) and his insanely stereotypical Asian business partners with a lack of depth perception at the exact same time that Travolta is grinning like Jack Nicholson’s Joker at a bereavement group! That’s right – there’s a bereavement group nearby! I wish there had been one in the lobby of the theater! Oh, and did I mention the cross-eyed hand model played by Rita Wilson?

The whole thing is less of a comedy and more of a demolition derby, with every character crashing into everything, and doing so at unsafe speeds. (I think there are more exterior shots than locations, and maybe a record number of canine reaction shots to boot.) Even the editing is relentlessly impatient, as if a movie that didn’t know it wasn’t being funny really couldn’t care either way. This is comedy for the "America’s Funniest Home Videos" crowd in the DVR age; just skip to the next nut shot already.

Director Walt Becker displayed his knack for inept filmmaking with 2007’s Wild Hogs, but at least he didn’t slum to the schmaltz there (so far as I remember anyway; that was a whole other blur of cringe-inducing homophobia and groan-inducing slapstick). Perhaps we have writers David Diamond and David Weissman to thank for that, for whom I hope this, like the kids, was the result of an impossible-to-recall South Beach binge.

Let me close with this: Robin Williams’ character – the man who doesn’t know how to hug a child, wait outside a bathroom stall or get a tattoo removed apparently – is getting himself and Travolta’s character pumped for a match of extreme Frisbee with the unreasonably angry Matt Dillon when he reaches down to the ground and quickly smears something across both their faces to make war paint. Sure enough, Dillon informs them that he has just reached down into a pile of bear scat. Travolta then has to be told what scat is. “I have poop on my face?” he asks.

Yes, John. I’m afraid that you do.

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originally posted: 11/28/09 11:15:45
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User Comments

12/02/09 terry never laugh so hard 5 stars
11/30/09 Darkstar One star is too much for this shit. The worst movie I've seen in a long time. 1 stars
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  25-Nov-2009 (PG)
  DVD: 09-Mar-2010


  DVD: 09-Mar-2010

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