Old Dogs Could've Used a Few New Tricks
- Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Of course, saying that Dan is surprised by this turn of events is the understatement of the century. Set in his ways and technically old enough to be the kids' grandfather, he doesn't take too kindly to Vicki's request to care for his kids while she's in the slammer. But to win her back? It might be worth it.
Since she's got no one else, he eventually agrees to the task, which leads to a slew of predictable, fish-out-of-water moments for Dan and Charlie, who reluctantly agrees to the share the parental load. But instead of offering the "old dogs" an opportunity to see life through a new lens, the scriptwriters offer up a boring, by-the-numbers journey jam-packed with juvenile humor that's simply a waste of talented actors like Williams, Travolta and comedic scapegoat Seth Green, who is simply picked on again and again for his slight stature.
Why anyone thought any of this would deliver the funny is a real mystery to me, and the timing couldn't be worse. Truth be told, if you're looking for some family-bonding laughs after you've enjoyed the turkey and all the trimmings, watching a re-run of John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles on cable (preferably the edited version) is a far better choice. Somehow, Hughes found that delicate balance between serving up gut-busting laughs and telling a story that thoughtfully underscores the importance of family without resorting to the gimmicky theatrics that drags Old Dogs way, way down.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking during business meetings, plus an ongoing joke about getting Charlie and Dan's prescribed meds all mixed up, a funny scene that would probably be pretty dangerous if this wasn't a movie.
- Language/Profanity: Not much in the way of actual expletives, just a lot of rude banter, scatological and otherwise.
- Sex/Nudity: A reference to a one-night stand, plus ongoing suspicions that Charlie and Dan are a gay couple, when in truth they were just two friends watching a couple of kids.
- Violence: Only of a comedic nature, and there's plenty of slapstick violence throughout including characters getting hit hard in rather sensitive areas.
Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.
For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.
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