Sunday, July 19, 2015

Old Dogs

What do you get when Robin Williams and John Travolta team up to do a movie together?
Do you get an awesome, laugh-a-minute rapid-fire Blues Brothers style hilari-fest?
Do you get a well acted and well directed subversive drama about getting older and staying young inside?
No, you get a mediocre family-comedy that doesn't do anything new and doesn't do much well. The fact that it has the Walt Disney logo on it, combined with the fact that it's a live-action movie means that any of the edge it might have had was probably lost in production.
If it was released by one of their subsidiary studios it probably would have turned out better.
Unfortunately, I think I've used up all my negative criticism for it since it's really not all that bad a film. It's just sort of bland. It's not the kind of thing that I'd ever want to watch more than once.
And unfortunately it's not something I watched when I was a kid, like The Pacifier, so I can't even pretend I have any nostalgia for it. I literally just watched this movie this year!
And you know why I watched it? Travolta and Williams, that's why! They're both better than this!
Robin Williams! You were in The Bicentennial Man! You were in plenty of good movies, why waste your time and talent on something like this?
And John Travolta! Battlefield Earth might not have been great, but you've done a lot of good work! I would have to hope that most of the budget went to paying Travolta and Williams! Because it certainly didn't go into the special effects!
Seriously, there's one big effects shot of Williams flying in a jet-pack of all things over a zoo of all places!
No, that doesn't make any sense. Yes, that scene is eerily similar to one from the Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas weirdfest, Jingle All the Way. No, this isn't a Christmas flick.
Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. If you've seen any (And I mean any) family movie in the last decade or two, then you've seen this movie. You can skip it. There's nothing in here that you've never seen before. At all. No, I'm not kidding. If this movie were a person, it would wear a five-piece suit of cliches, Magic: The Gathering cards for shoes with spats made out of re-used jokes and a hat made out of old reconstituted newspaper. This movie is a study in cliche and retread. It's not quite Daniel X level of cliched, but it's damn close.
And Bernie Mac is in it. And this was his last movie before he died. And of course, the few scenes he's in are great, and yes they're among the few highlights of the movie, but it's still a shame that he didn't have a better movie as his last. And he's barely in this!
So, let's just lay out everything right here. This movie is light on laughs, light on jokes, light on wit, and the plot is straight out of nowhere.
So while I'm writing this, I'm wondering if I should try to analyze why every unfunny joke sucks, or if I should just make a blanket statement saying that the movie doesn't have anything unique going for it and move on to reviewing another movie for the second half of this review.
Time for a rundown of this movies bad reception. It was nominated for four Golden Raspberry awards. And it didn't win in any category! Let's go ahead and run down what beat it out, and decide if they treated it right.
Worst picture: The other contenders were G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (Which I didn't mind) Land of the Lost, All About Steve (Which looks really bad) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which won the award.
Was Old Dogs terrible? No. Was RotF worse? No. I'd actually rather watch Transformers 2 than Old Dogs, simply because I don't feel like it wasted my time. And I feel like this movie was a true waste of my time. I still don't like Transformers 2 a whole lot, but I don't think it should have taken the award over Old Dogs.
John Travolta was nominated as worst actor, which I think is kinda harsh, since he does try to be funny, but there's no way he was a worse actor than Seth Green was in this film. Not even gonna comment on the rest of the category, since I don't disagree with it too much.
Worst Supporting Actress went to Sienna Miller in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra as The Baroness. Like I said, I didn't mind that film, and I don't think she did a worse job than Julie White did in Revenge of the Fallen as Sam's mother. And while Kelly Preston wasn't terrible, her role did suck a lot worse than Sienna Miller's did.
And finally, Worst Director went to Michael Bay.
Just, no... No... There's no way Michael Bay did a worse job as director than almost everyone in the category, especially not when Phil Traill was in the category for directing All About Steve, and not when Walt Becker was in the category for this mediocre and unstimulating piece of bland failure.
That's the problem, there are almost always movies that are worse than what Michael Bay puts out.
I wouldn't call this movie bad by any means, but I have more love for Revenge of the Fallen that I do for this film. Revenge of the Fallen wasn't a good film, but for every low trough it still had some high peaks.
This movie starts off with a nearly flat waveform and only gets closer to a flatline as time goes on.
That's just it, the biggest crime this film committed was being generally boring and cliched. And will I say that makes it worse than one of my most hated movies I've reviewed?
Yes. I remember when they were marketing this movie, the commercials acted like it was gonna be a laugh a minute comedy with two of the best comedic actors in the business teaming up to bring us a great movie that was going to be worth every second.
And it wasn't. It was a study in cliche, it was a study in mediocrity. It had no original ideas, and they flat-out lied about what the movie was going to be like. It didn't suck, but it was less than what they said. And I detest that. I can't stand that. This movie was a total of not plus great, divided by a marketing campaign that shot it in the foot.
And a movie that actively lied to the audience is a movie that I don't like.
And yes, Transformers 2 wasted its potential, and so did this. But it was still more memorable than this. So that's that. I'm not gonna rate it. Old Dogs deserved a rundown, but it doesn't need a rating.
I'll see you guys next week with something. I don't know what.
Hell, I didn't even know I'd be writing about this movie this week, I just resurrected an article I shelved before I even started writing it because I felt like talking about it this week. I've been a little sick this week, so it's unsurprising that I didn't have much new to talk about. Time to end this before I run on too long.