Walt Becker should never, ever be allowed to direct again. I’ll freely admit, for better or worse, that his debut film, Van Wilder, is among a long list of my guilty pleasure movies. It is not a great movie and at times it's even a downright disgusting movie, but it knew its target audience and played along the lines of the then-current crop of gross-out features. It also brought to light the now hugely reliable star Ryan Reynolds but he’s about the only good thing to come from a film that also featured Tara Reid.
Since this first film Becker has been on quite a steady downward spiral as he also gave us Buying the Cow starring Jerry O’Connell and then the surprise smash hit, and I mean surprise, Wild Hogs. This was a movie that went on to be one of 2007’s biggest hits in spite of being one of that year’s absolute worst comedies, if not films.
When your big name cast consists of so-called “comedians” who may be great on stage but are usually horrific on-screen, they should never be allowed to act together in one film. Yet there they were: Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence right alongside John Travolta and William H. Macy. Along for the ride we also saw Marisa Tomei turn up as Macy’s love interest. They managed to be the only two who escaped slightly unscathed.
Having not had the displeasure of witnessing either I Love You, Beth Cooper nor All About Steve, I have to say that from what I’ve seen so far, I award this year’s Cinematic Abortion Award to Walt Becker’s Old Dogs.
Here we find John Travolta returning for another undeserved paycheck along with Robin Williams, who phones in his performance and goes completely over-the-top in a way we haven’t seen from him in a while. In some cases that could be a good thing, but with a director who has no filmmaking sensibilities in the slightest and nary a rope in sight to reel Williams in at any point, we get this atrocious piece of slap-dash, unintentional terror.
Dan (Robin Williams) and Charlie (John Travolta) live single and boisterously care free. Dan is seeking peace in his old age whereas Charlie is still lapping it up as the ladies man he always has been. As business and unintentional life partners they have apparently more time and money than they know how to deal with but are trying to close a deal with some Japanese businessmen, only to string along the racial and ethnic jokes for the duration of the running time.