Walt Becker follows up his 2007 film Wild Hogs, with the similarly titled Old Dogs. John Travolta must have enjoyed his time in Hogs, as he also co-stars in Dogs, along with Robin Williams. The rest of the cast is worth mentioning; Matt Dillon and Seth Green get decent screen time, though perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that this is Bernie Mac’s final film following his death in August 2008. The film documents the experiences of bosom pals Dan Rayburn (Robin Williams) and Charlie Reed (John Travolta), as they are on the verge of pulling off a massive business deal. At the same time Dan is trying to get back together with his ex-wife and get to know the kids he never knew he had.
The two unlikely pals get into all sorts of unlikely humorous situations. The motivation for the character Dan is to be a father to his kids and to re-marry his wife, the motivation for the humanoid known as Charlie Reed is to sleep with attractive women, who are invariably many years his junior, as is the irrepressible nature of time. However these goals are secondary to the overarching objective of pulling off that big deal… or are they? And does sleeping with young women really make you happy? Or is there more to life than money and sex? Seen as this is a movie, the answer isn’t quite as obvious as you would think.
The comedy is low brow; the stuff of misspelt tattoos, medication mishaps, gorilla molestation, old people are old, Japanese people are Japanese, and so on. This kind of trash is ruining our films and our society, making our fellow movie-goers dumber, and is hilarious. The film has been panned by critics; they hate it and don’t want you to see it. They want you to rent something like ‘Brokeback Mountain’ or On the Waterfront instead. And so do I. Only I know that you aren’t going to do that are you? This is garbage and you love it.
Anyway, never mind all that. You didn’t come here to be insulted, you came here to see if the film was any good, and as far as I could tell, it was. I laughed. I laughed a lot. I laughed so much that the guy sitting in front of me gave me a dirty look when the credits came up. I felt proud. He felt the movie was beneath him. I was fully aware that homo sapiens are merely highly evolved apes and are thus easily entertained. Having said that something like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is well below the intelligence levels of humans and is good for entertaining only single cell amoebas and fans of the X-Factor.
As I said in my The Spy Next Door review, I have been in a very good mood for weeks. Because of this any old trash can get past my radar as long as it has some basic humour in it. But let’s face it; Seth Green getting cradled by a man-eating gorilla is funny on some level, Robin Williams walking round with ‘Freemont’ rather than ‘Free Man’ inked onto his chest is also funny on probably that very same level.
There is little else to say about this film really. It is straight comedy all the way. There is a basic element of ‘family is good’, but that is about all there is. The gags are linked together a, b, c; that is to say the scriptwriters had several comedic scenarios and then worried about how to fit them together later. Though I think it is a stretch to say anyone actually ‘worried’ about this film, ‘thought’ about it, or put any kind of mental activity into it whatsoever.
There isn’t much going for this film. There are hundreds like it and only if you are a fan of Travolta, Williams, Green or the like will you have any reason to choose this over any of it’s contemporaries (bear in mind it is 1,000 better than Dance Flick and it’s ilk). I am not panning it; it is a good enough film. Watch it if you want, laugh if you like – I won’t judge you.