Blu-Ray Review: Absolutely Awful ‘Old Dogs’ With John Travolta, Robin Williams

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CHICAGO – Culturally insensitive, disgusting, violent, vile, and shockingly unfunny, “Old Dogs” is the kind of embarrassment for which stars, writers, and directors should be forced to do community service. If someone delivered a product this awful to you at a restaurant, you wouldn’t have to pay for it and you could probably sue. Those of you who paid to see it in theaters, should consider a class action case. The rest of you should just avoid it like you would a dog turd on the sidewalk. Blu-Ray Rating: 0.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 0.5/5.0

“Old Dogs” is one of those comedies that mistakes physical violence for humor. Punch a guy in the face, slam a woman’s hands in a trunk, hit a kid in the face with a soccer ball - why write actual jokes when you can just shoot people falling down in pain and the occasional hilarious dog reaction shot? “Wild Hogs,” the previous collaboration between John Travolta and director Walt Becker may have been problematic but it looks like something that could be used in a comedy class compared to this mess.

Old Dogs was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Old Dogs was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Photo credit: Disney Home Video

Williams and Travolta play life-long man-children in this buddy comedy about two businessmen forced to deal with a couple of children while also negotiating a deal they’ve been working towards for years. Charlie (Travolta) is the outgoing ladies man and Dan (Robin Williams) is his more conservative better half. When an old flame (Kelly Preston) drops a pair of fraternal twins that Dan didn’t know were his into the lives of the pair, hijinks ensue. Seth Green, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, Rita Wilson, and the late Bernie Mac slum with Robin and John.

Old Dogs was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Old Dogs was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Photo credit: Disney Home Video

Why do stars like Williams and Travolta make films this bad? They don’t need the money. It’s literally impossible that any of their advisors thought this screenplay was funny. Maybe it’s a favor or, more likely, they thought it might be a throwback to more Three Stooges-esque physical humor. The fact is that Robin has an Oscar and John has been in some classics: They should know better by now and more should be expected of them. And while Travolta seems to be having fun, Williams gives one of the most smug, awful performances in a very long time. The fact is that they’re using their star power to get a film on Blu-ray that would have been shelved without more recognizable faces in it and so they need to be held responsible.

Of course, they’re not alone. Most notably, writers David Diamond & David Weissman have crafted one of the least enjoyable screenplays in a very long time. It’s almost a parody of films like this one with its never-ending string of bad physical humor intercut by manipulative material about Dan learning “what’s important in life”. You know what’s important? Never seeing movies this horrendous.

I know what some readers will think - it’s a kids/family/Disney movie, don’t be so hard on it. But the fact is that children’s entertainment has become as intellectually rich and emotionally satisfying as adult’s in the last few years with the rise of Pixar and what that’s done to the competition. We don’t even have to look back that far to find far more rewarding rentals or purchases if you’re looking for a family movie this weekend. Check out “Coraline,” “Up,” “Ponyo,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” or “The Princess and the Frog” - five minutes of any of them are more rewarding than the entirety “Old Dogs” in every sense of the word.

The Disney Blu-ray release of “Old Dogs” includes multiple ways to experience the pain with a BD, DVD, and Digital Copy version of the film. Special features include “Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks,” Music Video “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” Performed by Bryan Adams, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, Music Video “Every Little Step” Performed by John Travolta and Ella Bleu Travolta,” and an audio commentary by Director Walt Becker, Producer Andrew Paney, and Writers David Diamond and David Weissman.

‘Old Dogs’ is released by Disney Home Video and stars Robin Williams, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Seth Green, Ella Bleu Travolta, Lori Loughlin, and Matt Dillon. It was written by David Diamond & David Weissman and directed by Walt Becker. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010. It is rated PG. content director Brian Tallerico

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