Annie On Writing

June 10, 2010

Old Dogs…. chews an old bone

Filed under: Review — Annie Evett @ 11:16 pm
Tags: , ,

Old Dogs has all the hallmarks of a formulaic family comedy produced by Disney. John Travolta and Robin Williams team up as two friends who run a successful marketing business and are on the brink of the biggest deal of their careers before their past catches up on them.

The story of a hapless and clueless father whose children suddenly appear and are dumped on him for a fortnight had the potential to comment on a number of things; most importantly ageism and the role of absentee fathers, but is so full of cliches that it ends up being an embarrassing tumble  of formulaic slapstick scenes. Travolta never quite makes it believable as the personable playboy, Williams apologetic in his role as a financial brains behind the business.
The plot quickly falls apart with the introduction of too many themes and variables. With half of the film based in the boardroom and the other in fairgrounds; its difficult to decide on what audience its trying to reach, and at the end ensuring its not accessible to neither children nor adults.
Most of the cultural faux pas may have been amusing ten years ago; but one would hope that we as an audience have matured beyond making fun of the asian culture, of same sex marriages and of toilet humour.  The plot is so full of improbable and outrageous situations, the audiences belief needs to be completely suspended before any enjoyment can be obtained.
Despite its hit and mostly miss plot, this film is (embarrassingly) full of belly laughs.  Although most gags can be seen building a mile away, they are still enjoyable when they peak. Particularly amusing are the references to getting older, the creaks and groans ones body makes informing all it is not as young as it used to be and of the blunders young parents make.  If you are a sucker for predictable gags, shots of cute animals adding their silent comments on the action, then this film will fit your bill perfectly.
As to be expected with a Disney film, the main characters see the errors of their ways, make extraordinary efforts to right the wrongs they have committed and the family unit is reunited once again.
Although Old Dogs is flawed in many ways, its undemanding on the mind and perfect for a Sunday afternoon session for the whole family.

An interesting aside – For the 30th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony, Old Dogs was nominated in four categories: Worst Picture, Worst Actor for John Travolta, Worst Supporting Actress for Kelly Preston and Worst Director for Walt Becker, but did not win any of them.. in fact , despite its negative feedback and criticism, it ended up being a minor box office success.

Film Poster via Wikipedia.

For the record, I did enjoy it, laughed alot; but was kind of embarrassed afterwards….

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