Old Dogs Walt Becker
Published Nov 24, 2009According to garbage like Old Dogs, which recycles many a premise, in a Three Men and a Baby capacity, everyone would be much happier if they just crapped out a couple of kids and lived in an eternal montage making goo-goo eyes at each other while an insipid '90s pop hit reinforces said solipsism. Some may argue harmless fun as a virtue, citing mistaken homosexual identity and groin injury humour as innocuous, which perhaps it is, for the incredibly stupid.
Constructed as a particularly twee hybrid of the worst John Travolta and Robin Williams have to offer, the film finds two 50something professionals, Charlie (Travolta) and Dan (Williams), living the high life as successful sports marketing something-or-others, until Judeo-Christian ethics step in and teach them a lesson.
It seems that seven years ago, Dan anonymously shagged Vicki (Kelly Preston), who popped out a couple of puppies but kept it a secret (a storyline that never gets old). Of course, now that Vicki is going to jail for environmental protesting (natch), Dan has to look after the twins, despite not having a parenting bone in his body. Kooky hijinks ensue.
Everything else unfolds as a series of montages with no reasonable beginning or end, showing that men fear aging and apparently cannot perform even the most rudimentary parental task without winding up covered in muck or doing something illegal. It's bizarre and wildly manipulative, resorting to every screwball shenanigan in the book for a possible laugh. But there are none to be had here, even for the undiscerning.
What's worse is that beyond the hokum and vile finger wagging there is little more than Robin Williams rehashing his goofy, rubber-faced shtick (fake puppet string routine and all), while Travolta, supposedly a schmoozer and a womanizer, neither of which we buy, tells unfunny jokes. It's embarrassing and awkward, and very much the definition of a paycheque movie. (Buena Vista)