x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

DVD review: Old Dogs

Robin Williams shares the blame for this train wreck with the writers of the flaccid script.

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"Never work with children or animals," said WC Fields. He might have added a third category: Robin Williams. The former funny man has become a kind of comedic zombie, shambling around slaughtering scripts and fellow actors alike. Yet people keep working with him. In the appropriately-titled Old Dogs, Williams appears alongside John Travolta, two bratty kids and an amorous gorilla, producing a perfect storm of dreadfulness. To be fair, the blame lies as much at the feet of the writers and director (Walt Becker, Wild Hogs) as it does Williams. The film is a litany of flaccid gags, gee-whiz comic turns and plot devices that were originally outlined on the Rosetta Stone. Dan (Williams) is a marketing executive who meets a woman (Preston) during a post-divorce bacchanal. Seven years on, Preston shows up, twins in tow, and dumps them on Dan and his womanising buddy Charlie (Travolta). You see where we're going here? Self discovery. Redemption. Poop jokes.What's most unsettling about this movie - besides the fact that the box promises "a laugh-a-minute" when the reality is closer to a grimace-a-second - is the talent it managed to ensnare. Seth Green puts in an appearance, as do Amy Sedaris, Matt Dillon and the wonderful Bernie Mac. This, in fact, was the last film to showcase Mac's comic brilliance (he died in 2008), and even he's not that good. Laughing yet?