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Review: Old Dogs

Old Dogs
4 10
PLOT: Two middle aged businessmen and best friends, Dan (Robin Williams), and Charlie (John Travolta), are in for a rude awakening when Dan’s ex-girlfriend, Vicki (Kelly Preston), re-enters their life, with two kids in tow that she claims are Dan’s.

REVIEW: OLD DOGS is exactly what the trailers make it look like: a rambunctious Disney comedy aimed at the kiddies, who’ll likely eat this up over the holiday weekend. There’s not a heck of a lot here to appeal to anyone over the age of seven, with Travolta and Williams both playing this one very safe, and broad (this is about as far removed from Williams’ last, underrated film, WORLD’S GREATEST DAD, as you an get).

OLD DOGS re-teams Travolta with his WILD HOGS director, Walt Becker, and in many ways this feels like it could be a toned down sequel to that film- with Williams sitting in for Tim Allen. It’s got the same, slapstick vibe (complete with scenes of Travolta being attacked by penguins, and Williams getting into mischief with a jet pack) and, like that film, I was ready to walk out of OLD DOGS after about twenty minutes.

The film just did not work for me at all, and I barely cracked a smile throughout the ninety minutes the film ran (even a cameo by the normally funny Justin Long fell flat). There’s a whole section set on a scouting trip that was painfully unfunny (and featured a slumming Matt Dillon) - that was so stale it used the theme from CHARIOTS OF FIRE to ironically score a rugby game. I mean, c’mon, really guys? CHARIOTS OF FIRE??? This joke was done to death in the eighties, and I doubt any of the youngsters watching the film will get it, while their parents will just groan.

Now, there’s a part of me that wants to give this film an automatic pass, just due to the fact that this is obviously a Travolta family labor of love, with Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston playing the love interest, and his daughter, Ella Bleu Travolta, playing one of the kids. Everyone knows the unspeakable tragedy that befell the Travolta family earlier this year, so it doesn’t really fell right picking on their film. For what it’s worth, Travolta is fine, as is Williams; they do the best they can with a subpar, corny script, and they have some nice, easygoing chemistry that makes the idea that the two have been friends for thirty years very believable. Young Ella Bleu Travolta is perfectly good as one of the kids, and Kelly Preston is also solid (and looks AMAZING, as does Lori Loughlin, who plays Travolta’s love interest, and looks hotter here than she did as Aunt Becky 20 years ago on FULL HOUSE).

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter one iota what I think about OLD DOGS. It’s not made for people like me, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t enjoy the film. Hopefully, the intended family audience will enjoy it, and there were plenty of laughs at the screening I saw it at earlier this week- so obviously there are plenty of folks that will like it. I’m just not one of them, and I’ll have to wait for the promising looking FROM PARIS, WITH LOVE to get the Travolta flick geared to my demo.

RATING: 4/10





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