Old Dogs

Release Date: November 25, 2009

Movie of the Day for Friday, May 1, 2009
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 That's right, John. Hide the bald patch.

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149/169 Max Braden What a pointless money grab.

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What on earth is happening to the Walt Disney Pictures that I used to know and love as a kid? Have I really become so aged and jaded that their film releases can instill nothing in me but the lowest feelings of condescension and disdain? Is it me that’s changed or the pictures?

Excusing my brief “Orson-Wells-Rosebud” moment right there, I want to say for the record that there’s nothing wrong with Walt Disney Pictures. They’ve been responsible for inoffensive movies in the past couple of years like Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3 (good, bad and ugly), Dan in Real Life (smart) and Enchanted (super fun). These flashes of cinematic quality are enough to enough forgive such abominations like Underdog and all those Santa Clause movies, right? . . . right?

In any case, I don’t really understand what’s going on with all these Walt Disney Picture films aimed squarely at the middle-aged, Baby Boomer, suburban, edging-on-homophobic audiences. Just as Sex and the City proved that there’s an underserved female film audience out there, Wild Hogs proved that this audience is clearly a lucrative one, raking in over $168 million at the box office in North America. And I suppose that the lesson learned is that “Where goes the money, so does the Mouse.”

So from Wild Hogs to Old Dogs. This film brings back director Walt Becker and star John Travolta in a film where Travolta has his life turned upside down, finding himself the unexpected caretaker for seven-year-old twins with his best friend and business partners. The only difference from Wild Hogs is that in this case, instead of pairing Travolta with three unattractive, middle-aged costars (I’ll avoid the obvious joke here of describing the Wild Hogs four as ugly, fat, male equivalents to the still-smoking-hot Sex and the City gals), he gets Robin Williams . . . another one of those Hollywood casualties in which an undeniable acting talent gets weighed down with morbidly unfunny movies like RV, License to Wed and Man of the Year.

This movie makes me depressed just writing about it. I’m even more depressed when I imagine seeing it. I’m depressed to the nth degree when I think about how much money this could make given the marketing muscle of Disney and all those Wild Hogs fans ready to see another gut-busting, homophobic adventure. “If you thought the guys were scared of gays last time around, this time they’re scared with seven-year-old twins!”

I’m sorry if I’m coming off as disgruntled. Maybe I’m just showing my age. I’m just at the time in my life where I’d rather not see someone who’s old enough to be my father muddle around with kids in an unfunny, cheesy, worst-kind-of-Disney way. (Jason Lee/BOP)

Vital statistics for Old Dogs
Main Cast Robin Williams, John Travolta, Kelly Preston
Supporting Cast Bernie Mac, Matt Dillon, Seth Green, Lori Loughlin, Rita Wilson
Director Walt Becker
Screenwriter David Diamond, David Weissman
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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