Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

"Old Dogs" Should Be Put Down


Review by Mark David Campbell

I went into a matinee showing for Old Dogs expecting a family comedy that provided both a fair amount of humor and a nice, fluffy, heartwarming ending.  What I got was ninety minutes of treacle, with not a trace of either one.

John Travolta and Robin Williams play Charlie and Dan, two sports-marketing businessmen who are just about to land the biggest account of their careers, one that could potentially set them up for life.  But fate intervenes in the most dastardly way when a woman named Vicki (played by Travolta’s real-life wife, Kelly Preston), to whom Dan was once married for a few drunken hours seven years before, shows up with twin children in tow, and announces that Dan is the father.  Oops.

To make matters worse, Vicki is about to spend two weeks in jail for trespassing (she was protesting against an “environmentally suspect” plant) and wouldn’t you know it, Dan causes an accident that puts Vicki’s sitter in the hospital.  So who gets to take care of the young ‘uns for a fortnight?  That’s right!  Daddy Dan and Uncle Charlie!

From there on out, you can pretty much guess what happens.  Hijinks at a zoo.  Hijinks while camping.  Cliché piled upon cliché, each one less funny than the last.  Williams in particular just looks fatigued the whole time, basically just earning his paycheck and not much more.  The supporting cast that includes Justin Long, Seth Green and Matt Dillon delivers a few sporadic laughs, but most of them were in the trailer.  And I am truly sorry to say, the very last appearance on film for the late, great comedian Bernie Mac was all too brief.

There have been some great Disney family comedies over the years.  There have also been some truly lame ones.  Old Dogs definitely belongs in the latter category.

1 / 5 stars

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