Old Dogs Could've Used a Few New Tricks
- Wednesday, November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: November 25, 2009
Rating: PG (for some mild rude humor)
Run Time: 88 min.
Director: Walt Becker
Actors: John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Connor Rayburn, Lori Loughlin, Seth Green, Bernie Mac, Rita Wilson, Amy Sedaris
While it's safe to say that Walt Becker doesn't dig quite so deep in the slop bucket for his low-brow giggles, (it is rated PG, after all) Old Dogs could've used a few new tricks, namely a stronger, less-schmaltzy script, a more convincing friendship between our protagonists played by John Travolta and Robin Williams respectively, and well, a few more laughs that don't involve bodily functions. Or a perpetually cross-eyed character who constantly runs into things and inevitably frightens small children (even more shocking is that it's Rita Wilson who signed on for that unfortunate cameo).
Truth be told, not many people at our packed Saturday morning screening, an audience that included kids, teens and parents alike, were laughing much at all. And that's because Old Dogs, save for a scene or two, just wasn't very funny. Worse yet, the familiar moral of valuing what's really important in life (and it's not those long hours at the office, surprise surprise) feels
particularly tacked on and inauthentic.
Note to the writers: It actually helps if the children are more than just for show. As cute as they are, they never truly feel part of the story.
Back to what we do know, apparently, Charlie and Dan have been friends for a long time. Or that's what we're shown in the opening montage with a slew of cutesy pics anyway. And through thick and thin and Dan's two divorces, they've also been successful business partners for an independent sports marketing firm.
While we have no idea what their work actually entails (aside from telling over-the-top, embarrassing stories about each other to prospective clients), Charlie and Dan are on the cusp of a huge business deal that'll bring in the really big money, the kind of fundage that'll help them be set for life. That is, if Dan can lose a little of his emotional baggage and get his act together before it ruins the duo's chances of landing that deal. See, he's still lamenting a one-night stand with Vicki (Kelly Preston), a relationship that began on a vacation to Miami that segued into a quickie marriage (and a quickie divorce once everyone was sober) seven years ago.
Even though Charlie constantly extols the many virtues of the bachelor life, Dan just ain't buyin' it. He desperately longs for a love to call his own and gets in touch with Vicki via a seven-page, single-spaced letter (yes, an actual letter, not a Facebook message), hoping for a second chance.
Conveniently, right around the time that Vicki receives Dan's magnum opus, she's in a bit of a legal pickle. After an episode of environmental protesting, she doesn't just get a fine for her wrongdoing. Instead, she's landed herself a two-week jail stint. As the mother of fraternal twins Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta, rounding out what's ultimately a family affair) and Zach (Conner Rayburn), she's not quite sure how she's going to take care of them when she's behind bars. So in an act of desperation, she pays a visit to their father who doesn't even know he's a father: Dan (quelle surprise).
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