Sunday, 23 May 2010


Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray

The title of this comedy refers to John Travolta and Robin Williams' characters, longtime business partners Charlie and Dan, who, in their post-middle age yet sadly clinging to adolescence (like most men in Hollywood comedies these days), are too set in their ways to change.

That is until fate thrusts change upon them. Well, Dan anyway; Charlie just seems to be along for the ride. A brief island marriage during a post-divorce drinking binge some eight years ago, resulted in, much to Dan's surprise, a couple of kids. The 'wife', Vicki (Kelly Preston), is about to do some jail time (for a noble cause we're assured) and unable to find friends she trusts, burdens Dan with his 7-year-old offspring, Zach and Emily.

Or rather, Dan offers since he has some romantic notion of making a go of it with Vicki, although that was before he learnt he was a father. And given the carry-on by the twins (supposedly cute and funny but obnoxious like most kids are in these kinds of films), if I were Dan, I'd be making an appointment for a paternity test ASAP just to be sure.

Naturally, instant fatherhood comes at the same time that Charlie and Dan are about to close the biggest deal of their careers (something to do with the Japanese), with Dan soon learning that, as a single parent, you can't have it all. Not that he's entirely single, for Dan seems incapable of getting by without Charlie and vice versa (but this is a Disney film, so we won't dig too deeply into that).

There's a litany of celebrity cameos in Old Dogs (Matt Dillon, Amy Sedaris, Ann Margret, Bernie Mac), which suggests that director Walter Beck didn't have complete confidence in his material, or leading men, to pull it through. Travolta and Williams are certainly both capable, and deserving, of better.

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