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Old Dogs

Old Dogs

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

WALT Becker’s Old Dogs looks like the type of film that was more fun to make than it is to watch.

For Travolta, especially, the film represents a great family get-together given that his wife (Kelly Preston), daughter (Ella Bleu) and sister (Margaret) all feature too.

For hapless cinema-goers unlucky enough to venture in, however, it’s an ordeal that’s every bit as bad as some of the leading men’s previous crimes against cinema – whether that’s Battlefield Earth, in Travolta’s case, or License To Wed or Flubber, in the case of Robin Williams.

Part bro-mance and part children’s comedy, Old Dogs finds the duo playing best friends and business partners – one an unlucky divorcee (Williams), the other a carefree bachelor (Travolta) – who find their lives in disarray when they’re forced to babysit the former’s seven-year-old twins while securing their biggest ever deal.

What follows is an endless parade of over-stretched and largely unfunny jokes at the expense of age and prescription pills, coupled with laboured speeches about the importance of friendship and family.

Becker, who was responsible for the equally turgid Wild Hogs, drags his leads through one lame scenario after another, seldom doing anything to surprise and manipulating audience sympathy at every opportunity.

There is, admittedly, the odd guilty smirk from seeing Williams’ getting to grips with a game of golf while inadvertently being high, but even these gags feel contrived, while Williams’ normal ad-libbing tendencies appear horribly reigned in.

Travolta, meanwhile, wears the smug look of a man who is clearly getting to work and hang out with his family at the same time – at our expense!

Cameos from the likes of Matt Dillon, the late Bernie Mac and Justin Long also backfire badly and merely blight the CVs of all concerned.

Old Dogs is, in short, a howling disaster of a family comedy that should have been put down [possibly straight to DVD, or merely Travolta’s own home video collection] rather than being let off the leash into cinemas.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 88mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: August 2, 2010