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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Old Dogs

March 6th, 2010

Old Dogs - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc DVD, Single-Disc Blu-ray, or Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack

At the beginning of the year, John Travolta was back on a hot streak, with three of his past four films hitting $100 million at the box office. Robin Williams's performances as Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum movies had given him two of his biggest hits ever. So the studio had to have high hopes for Old Dogs. Then it opened with some of the worst reviews of the year. It then missed expectations during its opening weekend and quickly faded away. Perhaps the lowered expectations will help this DVD release.

John Travolta and Robin Williams star as Charlie and Dan, two best friends who run a successful sports marketing firm. They are in the middle of landing the biggest deal of their careers when Dan gets a call from Vicki, a woman he once had a very short marriage with seven years ago and whom he has never truly gotten over. He's eager to reunite with her, but when he does, he discovers he is the father of seven-year old twins. After a series of improbable events, he has to take care of them for two weeks.

For the next 60 minutes or so, we see the resulting two weeks of camping trips, full contact Frisbee, mixed medication, and more until we get to the inevitable (and wholly undeserved) warm and fuzzy conclusion.

This is a bad movie. I should know, I've seen a lot of them. In fact, I've reviewed four of the ten Moldiest films of the year, and this is by far the worst. (This isn't the worse movie I've reviewed overall, just the worst on that list.) I don't think there's a single original thought that went into making this movie. When a script is really weak, an actor has one of two choices: they can mail in their performance or they can amp up the energy and overcompensate. Here the actors all choose to overcompensate. If they would have mailed in their performances, the movie would have merely been uninteresting. As it is, it is almost unwatchable. Instead of creating humor based on real characters and genuine emotions, the filmmakers repeatedly resorted to cheap physical gags, poop jokes, and a urinating dog. The amount of extremely funny people whose talents are completely wasted by this movie is a real disgrace. Avoid it at all costs.

After calling the film unwatchable, talking about the extras is moot, but nonetheless...

I don't have the Single-Disc DVD, but since the Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack comes with the DVD, it should be pretty easy to figure out what each version has in terms of extras.

The DVD has an audio commentary track with the director and the two screenwriters, who are a little too generous with their praise. There are also three deleted scenes and two-and-a-half minutes of outtakes. Nothing worth checking out.

The Single-Disc Blu-ray has that plus a 3-minute interview of John Travolta and Robin Williams, conducted by their two young co-starts. It also has two music videos. It is also BD-Live enabled, but there's nothing I can see since the Disney Network isn't in Canada yet.

The Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack has the DVD and the Blu-ray, plus a digital copy of the movie.

The Verdict

Ugh. Old Dogs is the worst wide release of 2009 I've reviewed. I can't emphasize that enough. If you are absolutely going to buy the movie, the Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack is the best deal, costing just $6 more than the Single-Disc DVD and $5 less than the Single-Disc Blu-ray.

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Filed under: Video Review, Old Dogs