Running Time: 88 minutes
Starring: Robin Williams, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Bernie Mac, Rita Wilson, Seth Green, Dax Shepard, Luis Guzman, Matt Dillon, Justin Long, Lori Loughlin
Directed By: Walt Becker
Rating: 2 out of 10
Two guys trying to land the biggest work account of their lives have to 7 year kids thrust into their world to throw them for a loop.
There is an old adage that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Well I have never been a dog owner so I can’t rightfully say if that is true or not. What I can tell you after seeing this film is you can’t teach old dogs to be funny apparently. Old Dogs is the story of Dan and Charlie. They are lifelong best friends and partners at a sports marketing firm. They are in the hunt for a huge account with businessmen from Japan when they are forced to look after 7 year old twins.
It is a harsh reality that our childhood stars are getting older. Because of this actors seem to be out of place or seemingly going for a last hurrah on screen when it comes to comedy. Because of the surprising success of the film Wild Hogs we will be inundated with similar films where age is a primary factor. I know some people will say I should ease up in my criticism of this film as it is a family oriented flick. To that I say family films can still suck as you will find out if you watch this. It will literally take you only a couple of minutes to realize this is not going to be a good movie. The film starts off with us getting to meet Dan and Charlie as they prepare for their meeting with the Japanese. We are treated to an unfunny flashback story where Dan has a drunken escapade in Miami and gets a stupid tattoo on his chest. This is a good barometer of where the film is going to try and get its laughs from. From there the twins are introduced into the story and the comedy is basically generated from 3 areas. The first area is that Dan and Charlie are old. This is beaten into you for where ever they go with the kids they are mistaken for grandparents (hilarious right.) The second area is that Dan and Charlie are often mistaken to be in a same sex relationship. This angle could have worked but yet it comes up short on almost every occasion. The last area is people continuously getting hit with different objects. Mostly people get hit in the crotch but no appendages are safe in this film. The slapstick humor in this movie will illicit little mirth from any viewer.
Talking about mailing in your acting performances in this film. Dan played by Robin Williams and Charlie played by John Travolta are a tired looking pair. They have zero chemistry in this film. Williams does the usual over the top shtick that I have never found funny. Travolta goes for the older lothario type performance and it comes off as creepy. Literally any older comedic actor in Hollywood could have been inserted into these roles and pulled it off. They are also supported mostly by awful characters. Rita Wilson playing a cross eyed hand model and Luis Guzman playing a food eating handy man are the worst of the bunch. Wilson’s character is just puzzling in its conception and Guzman’s character is sad. There are two positives to the supporting cast though. The first is Justin Long playing a camp troop leader. He is an angry redneck who gets into it with Charlie for stealing his women and he has a couple of funny lines. The second good performance is given by Dan and Charlie’s coworker Craig played by Seth Green. Green is hilarious in a film where nothing else is. An encounter with a gorilla at a zoo had me in hysterics and mostly his character is what makes this film rated a two instead of lower. The rest of the cast is blah with the late Bernie Mac and Kelly Preston turning in rather forgettable performances.
As the film travels along its mundane and limp trajectory it is clear no one involved with this film knows comedy. The story is awful and you will not care about a single thing that happens in this film. Dan and Charlie in their quest to stay young take drugs, get spray tans, go camping, and do lots of other young stuff with the twins which is neither heartfelt nor humorous. The film runs at a rather short 88 minutes and yet it feels like it is three hours long. You will be hoping five minutes in that someone takes these old dogs out back and puts them out of their misery Old Yeller style. If you haven’t got the tone of my review by now, please for the love of dog (reverse) don’t watch this.
Director Walt Becker knows comedy so there is no excuse for this film. He has the movies Van Wilder and Buying the Cow on his resume so this film puzzles me. Clearly they are trying to cash in with the audience without thought to content. The movie Wild Hogs sucked and this was worse. The mostly bland characters and weak story will cater to very few. I found myself constantly checking the clock to see how much was left to sit through. The casting, flow, comedic scenes, and the characters are all off and I am sure Becker knows it.
I cannot recommend this film as it has all the appeal of watching an Old Dog crap on your carpet.
T Factor + If you like family films then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like your films to have risqué humor than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Wild Hogs, the Bucket List