‘Old Dogs’ produce no tricks on DVD

Take two old and well-known actors, throw in a dying dog, a teaspoon of kids and a pinch of wacky escapades, and you should have the recipe for the perfect family comedy. Unfortunately for Disney’s latest DVD release, “Old Dogs,” the result turned out to be dog food.

Robin Williams and John Travolta star as two best friends and marketing firm owners, Dan and Charlie, who are about to get the biggest account of their careers. Their world turns upside down when a fling from Dan’s past presents him with the fruits of their relationship: 7-year-old twins. He has to learn how to be a father while watching his kids for two weeks.

Nothing about this film is cohesive, with the plot changing every second without any transition. It was doomed from the very moment it was put in the oven. The premise sounds intriguing, but the execution kills it.

Director Walt Becker crams too many cameos, twists and downright unfunny moments into his picture. Even though none of the elements connect, he still tries to slam them all together, disregarding continuity and the meaning of plot in the process.

One moment viewers will be watching a movie about a father and his kids, which suddenly turns into a buddy movie, which suddenly turns into a business movie and then back into the father and kids movie. “Old Dogs” changes so many times that audiences will not be able to keep up.

Some may think, what could be better than Mrs. Doubtfire and Danny Zuko together on the big screen? However, Williams and Travolta don’t have the power to save this film. Their portrayals lack heart and most of the film just makes fun of how old they are getting.

The kids, played by Ella Bleu Travolta and Conner Rayburn, are cute. Sadly, they are lost in the mix of the rest of the sloppy film. Viewers may realize halfway through the film they cannot even remember their names and understandably so — it is always hard to remember characters that lack any semblance of personality.

The film may get laughs from little boys who find actors accidently smearing poop on their faces to be humorous. It may entice older generations who relate to the days of the week pillbox fiasco. The funniest moment in the film, however, comes from one of Justin Long’s lines, which explains why most viewers already saw the part in the trailer.

Surprisingly, the bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD combo pack of “Old Dogs” are better than the movie itself. The bloopers remind audiences that Williams is a comedian and Travolta has a funny side, too.

“Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks” is an interview with Williams and Travolta conducted by the kids of the film. Rayburn and the younger Travolta seem to have more lines in the short skit than they do in the film.

The bonus features even include two music videos, but the one to watch is with John and Ella Bleu Travolta. Some may find their song “Every Little Step” to be heartwarming, while others may find it laughable, but everyone will have it stuck in their head afterward.

“Old Dogs” is anything but a treat and even if viewers go in with low expectations, they still wind up disappointed by everything this film throws at them.

Old Dogs : 1 out of 5 pitchforks Starring: John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston Rating: PG

Reach Stephanie at slrusso@asu.edu


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