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From left, Ella Bleu Travolta, John Travolta and Conner Rayburn in “Old Dogs,” a comedy also starring Robin Williams. Disney (Disney)
From left, Ella Bleu Travolta, John Travolta and Conner Rayburn in “Old Dogs,” a comedy also starring Robin Williams. Disney (Disney)

‘Old Dogs’ is no more than mild comedy

Trashing “Old Dogs” is a bit like kicking a puppy. But here goes.

The new comedy from some of the folks who brought us “Wild Hogs” is badly written and broadly acted, shamelessly manipulative and not above stopping by the toilet for a laugh or two.

It’s almost certain to be a big hit.

John Travolta and Robin Williams are professionally engaged in their roles as lifelong friends and longtime high-rolling sports marketing business partners. They’re just not believable as friends or as the “types” they play.

Travolta is Charlie, the womanizing, back slapping tell-the-client-a-funny-story half of the team. Most of the stories are about Dan, played by Williams at his most downbeat.

Sad Dan may be able to close the deal, but he’s a lonely soul, divorced, pining over a one-night stand (Kelly Preston) from seven years before.

The guys are on the verge of their biggest deal ever when “South Beach Vicki” (Preston) comes back into Dan’s life. She’s going to jail (environmental protest) and oh, by the way, Dan’s the father of 7-year-old twins. Would he mind watching them for a few weeks?

Surprisingly, few of the jokes have to do with the guys interacting with kids, which is what you promise when you label Dan “allergic to anything under 4 feet tall.”

It’s mainly a movie about two men coping with faux fatherhood and pretending they’re not old at the same time. The funniest bits come from a mix-up in their daily pill regimen.

There’s nothing offensive here, even the trips to the toilet. But when the best thing you can say about a comedy is that it’s harmless, you know these “Old Dogs” have lost their bite.



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