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DVD Review: Old Dogs

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Written by Hombre Divertido

With a plot that is too contrived for adults, and contains nothing to which children can relate, there is no audience for this film. Nonetheless Disney sent this 88-minute (which happens to be about as long as it was in theatres) dog to store shelves on March 9th, 2010 in a set that includes a Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copy, thus providing you and your family with three ways to avoid Old Dogs.

Disney somehow managed to get John Travolta, Robin Williams, Seth Green, Kelly Preston, Matt Dillon, Rita Wilson, Bernie Mac, and Ann Margret to participate in a script so thrown together and contrived, that it is a mystery how it ever got sold. It’s bad enough that Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston are in this, but to have allowed their child (daughter Ella) to participate should be considered a form of child abuse.

In Old Dogs Charlie (Travolta) and Dan (Williams) are lifelong friends and co-owners of some sort of sports-related marketing company, which like other aspects of this film, is loosely defined. Seven years earlier, Charlie had taken Dan to Florida to help him get over his divorce. One night in Florida, they get drunk, Dan gets a tattoo on his chest, meets Vicki (Preston), gets married, has sex, and gets an annulment. Vicki shows up (present day) to let Dan know that she has to go to jail for two weeks, and that he is the father of twins (Conner Rayburn and Ella Blue Travolta). Yup, it’s got Disney family film written all over it. So Dan and Charlie end up being saddled with the care of the children for two weeks while negotiating the biggest deal in the history of their company.

Since there is little introduction to the children or exploration into true childcare issues, ridiculous scenarios are introduced such as people taking the wrong medication and then dealing with the side effects. Again, a great comedic vehicle for a family film. Even more contrived is Charlie’s soliciting the help of friend and children’s entertainer Jimmy Lunchbox (a wasted Bernie Mac in what would sadly be his last film) who helps turn Dan into a human puppet so that he can better relate to his children.

One cannot help but feel for these actors as they clearly realize they are in a poorly written film and thus try desperately to breathe life into dead scenes. Unfortunately this results in what appears to be some of the worst over-acting seen on screen in years.

The bonus material includes a blooper reel on the Blu-Ray and DVD that is so poorly edited that it is impossible to appreciate, audio commentary, and deleted scenes. The audio commentary is more distracting than anything else, and the deleted scenes deserved to be deleted. The packaging indicated music videos on both the DVD and Blu-Ray, but they did not appear to be on the DVD.

Recommendation: The release of this film was delayed three times: According to Disney, the postponements were due to the death of Bernie Mac, Travolta’s son, and the health issue faced by Williams. The poor quality of the film should have been the reason, and it should have resulted in the project being scrapped long before filming began. There is nothing here worth your time or money. Wait for it to come out on television, which, based on its brief stay in theatres should not be long, and then watch something else.

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