Starring: John Travolta, Robin Williams, Seth Green
Directed by: Walt Becker (“Wild Hogs”)
Written by: David Diamond (“Evolution”) and David Weissman (“Evolution”)
While he is considered by many to be one of the funniest men in Hollywood, Robin Williams has been attracting some rather pathetic scripts over the last few years.
With the exception of this year’s Bobcat Goldthwait-directed “World’s Greatest Dad,” a dark comedy few people even saw, Williams hasn’t delivered a watchable, non-animated film since he doubled-up on the creepy dramatic roles of 2002’s “Insomnia” and “One Hour Photo.”
As far as comedy is concerned, however, Williams has struck out considerably with mishaps like “RV,” “Man of the Year,” “License to Wed,” and the sequel to “Night at the Museum.” It must only be a matter of time before he’s able to pump out a couple of consecutive winners before “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage” feel light years away.
Sadly, “Old Dogs” is not the comedy that’s going to get things started. It’s another irritating, family-friendly flop that could be described as the cinematic equivalent of a shot to the groin. Those who are easily entertained will probably chuckle even if they’ve seen it a million times before. For everyone else, “Old Dogs” will be old-hat.
In the film, longtime friends and business partners Charlie (John Travolta) and Dan (Williams) are in the middle of landing the biggest sports marketing deal of their careers when they’re sideswiped by some surprising news: Dan is a daddy. Vicki (Kelly Preston), a woman he had a fling with in Miami years ago, shows up with his 7-year-old twins Zach and Emily (Conner Rayburn and Ella Bleu Travolta) and leaves them in his care at the most inopportune time.
The formulaic set-up all leads to a montage-happy physical comedy featuring Travolta and Williams tripping over themselves for 88 minutes of painfully unfunny poop jokes and sight gags. Not even a collection of high-profile cameos by the likes of Matt Dillon, Amy Sedaris, Dax Sheperd, Justin Long, and the late Bernie Mac (in the final film of his career he plays some sort of techno-puppeteer) can thrust “Old Dogs” past its goofy and cliché premise.
Directed by Walt Becker, who has teamed up with Travolta before in “Wild Hogs,” “Old Dogs” is devastatingly short on laughs from the onset. As the random jokes push the limit of idiocy, we can only sit back and sigh while the image of Williams during his best years slowly fades away.