Old Dogs

2009-11-30 13:19
Old Dogs

What it’s about:

Two best friends — one an unlucky-in-love divorcee (Robin Williams) and the other a fun-loving bachelor (John Travolta)— have their lives turned upside-down when they’re unexpectedly charged with the care of seven-year-old twins while on the verge of the biggest business deal of their lives. The not-so-kid-savvy bachelors stumble in their efforts to take care of the twins, leading to one debacle after another, and perhaps to a newfound understanding of what’s really important in life.

What we thought:

If you put heavyweights John Travolta and Robin Williams together, you’d expect something amazing; add in some Disney magic, and you’d expect the sparks to really fly. Well, unfortunately, this is not that movie. It’s not amazing or magical. It’s just okay.

Disney magic is best left to movies like The Game Plan, Aladdin, and all that is sugar and spice and all things nice. Directed by Walt Becker, the same guy who gave us Wild Hogs; a surprisingly successful comedy about middle-aged men trying to recapture some former glory. But this time around he just didn’t get it right. It’s so average; its stench of desperation is evident in the constant gurning of an otherwise-respectable cast. This is a plain-as-day cash-in for everyone concerned.

Charlie (Travolta) is this creepy, flirtatious businessman who doesn’t want to acknowledge that he's getting old; while Dan (Williams), his best friend and business partner, feels as if something is missing in his life. When Dan’s ex-wife (Kelly Preston) returns to his life with the fraternal twins (played by real-life daughter of Preston and Travolta, Ella Bleu Travolta, and Conner Rayburn) he never knew he had, their lives get turned into utter turmoil. And that’s when the real fun begins. Bachelor freedom soon gives way to childish misadventure and the kind of innocent slapstick that will delight the little ones.

It's quite lovely to watch the Travolta family have so much fun together in this movie, especially after the tragedy of losing their 16-year-old son Jett this year. Old Dogs is a light-hearted, squeaky-clean romp aimed specifically at younger audiences who will love the gags and misdemeanours the men endure. Fans of Williams and Travolta's more seasoned work should steer well clear.

It may feature a star-studded cast, but this is no Disney hit. With its slapstick humour, this one is definitely for the kids.

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