robin williams and john travolta in 'Old Dogs'It seems that Hollywood's ongoing fascination with extended male adolescence hasn't lessened any, and in the case of 'Old Dogs,' we're talking reeeeally extended adolescence.

In this family comedy directed by Walt Becker ('Wild Hogs'), the old dogs of the title refer to the characters played by Robin Williams and John Travolta, though there is one actual canine in the film who contributes obligatory reaction shots.

The two leads play longtime friends and confirmed bachelors who are forced to take on the responsibilities of parenting when one of them discovers he is the father of twins. In the ensuing high jinx (on a camping trip and in a zoo, among other places), they're joined by several famous faces in cameos or supporting roles, including Matt Dillon, Seth Green, Ann-Margret and the late Bernie Mac in his last screen appearance. Unfortunately, it was not exactly a high note to end one's career on, according to most critics.The general consensus seems to be that while 'Old Dogs' is generally inoffensive, it's also formulaic and haphazardly frantic. robin williams and john travolta in 'Old Dogs'It seems that Hollywood's ongoing fascination with extended male adolescence hasn't lessened any, and in the case of 'Old Dogs,' we're talking reeeeally extended adolescence.

In this family comedy directed by Walt Becker ('Wild Hogs'), the old dogs of the title refer to the characters played by Robin Williams and John Travolta, though there is one actual canine in the film who contributes obligatory reaction shots.

The two leads play longtime friends and confirmed bachelors who are forced to take on the responsibilities of parenting when one of them discovers he is the father of twins. In the ensuing high jinx (on a camping trip and in a zoo, among other places), they're joined by several famous faces in cameos or supporting roles, including Matt Dillon, Seth Green, Ann-Margret and the late Bernie Mac in his last screen appearance. Unfortunately, it was not exactly a high note to end one's career on, according to most critics.The general consensus seems to be that while 'Old Dogs' is generally inoffensive, it's also formulaic and haphazardly frantic.

The Hollywood Reporter: "Since they are old dogs, there are no new tricks in Walt Disney's 'Old Dogs,' a shamelessly predictable, overly broad comedy aimed at the family audience starting Thanksgiving weekend. One could debate whether John Travolta or Robin Williams have reached an age to be mistaken for grandfathers, but they certain don't shy away from jokes their grandfathers would have groaned about."

Variety: "John Travolta and Robin Williams make an amiable team as middle-age bachelors suddenly handed parental duties in 'Old Dogs.' Too bad this shrilly tuned comedy doesn't demand more than clock-punching effort from everyone involved. Nonetheless, as Travolta and helmer Walt Becker's prior Mouse House exercise, 'Wild Hogs,' proved, there's an underserved audience out there ready for unchallenging laughs with familiar faces and little or no Judd Apatow-style raunch."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "You do not expect a movie with the title of 'Old Dogs' to offer new tricks. On that score, it meets expectations. Nor do you expect a formula buddy comedy about men of a certain age to provoke belly laughs. On that score, however, 'Old Dogs' exceeds (admittedly low) expectations. It runs a fast 88 minutes, is broad as the waistlines of its stars, and is remarkably family-friendly if you don't mind bathroom humor."

Chicago Tribune: "'Wild Hogs,' 'Old Dogs' -- what's next, 'Bumps on Logs'? Truly, I would rather watch John Travolta and Robin Williams sitting on a tree trunk, doing nothing, than endure their best efforts to energize this ol' hound. Does no one know how to film physical comedy anymore? In the latest Disney live-action comedy, people are constantly getting their fingers crushed by car-trunk lids, or getting clocked in the groin by golf balls, and undergoing grotesque facial distortions owing to the wrong medication. And none of it is funny. It's all pain and no funny."

'Old Dogs' trailer
'Old Dogs' showtimes and tickets

Entertainment Weekly: "Exhausted as the premise already is ... 'Old Dogs' nevertheless finds ways to make the lesson even less tolerable. Directed by Walt Becker, the movie includes an interminable scene of the men taking the wrong medications for their various boomer ailments, with weirdly horrible comedic side effects. In other awful interludes, they and their many ill-used guest stars are shot in disfiguring close-ups. The late comedy king Bernie Mac (who died in August 2008) is among those guests, a clue that this movie is an old dog indeed."

New York Times: "To describe the knockabout family comedy 'Old Dogs' as a ramshackle mess doesn't begin to evoke the confusion and sloppy continuity of a movie whose disconnected parts sometimes appear to have been randomly assembled from a cutting-room scrap heap. "Chaos reigns," the apocalyptic catchphrase from Lars von Trier's 'Antichrist,' might be more accurate."

Boston Globe: "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a turkey, and in 'Old Dogs,' we have the season's blue-ribbon gobbler. A pitiful family comedy about two aging buddies forced to play daddy, it looks exactly like what you'd get if Robin Williams and John Travolta went out, got hammered, scrawled scenes on a bar napkin in random order, gave the napkin to 'Wild Hogs' director Walt Becker, and filmed it. Trust me, you could do this at home and save yourself the $9.50."

Miami Herald: "No, the title refers to the movie's stars Robin Williams and John Travolta, who shot to superstardom in the 1970s, survived a series of career ups and downs over the next two decades and must now resort to starring in generic family comedies in which they play faint, PG-rated echoes of their former selves."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Whenever the predictable rhythms threaten to lull us to sleep, director Walt Becker ('Wild Hogs') trots out another famous face for a cameo. But it's cringe-inducing to see Ann-Margret in a scene where switched prescriptions cause a slapstick meltdown at a bereavement meeting and the late Bernie Mac using robotics to puppeteer Dan through a tea party with his daughter. After it's exhausted every other gimmick, the movie tries to win our hearts. But 'Old Dogs' is so oafish, when it tosses us a biscuit, it feels like we've been smacked with a newspaper."
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