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Movies You Aught Not Watch: Old Dogs

by on September 29, 2010
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Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.

“Old Dogs”
Rated PG

John Travolta and Robin Williams are no strangers to shamelessness.

Travolta instructed James Gandolfini to lick his bunghole in “The Taking of Pelham 123” and roared at Barry Pepper to eat a rat in “Battlefield Earth.” Starring in “Toys,” “Patch Adams,” “Fathers’ Day” and “Jack” prepared Williams to battle fountains of sewage, as he did in “RV.”

So Travolta and Williams’ testicular injuries in 2009’s “Old Dogs” from penguins and Bernie Mac’s biochemical human-puppet apparatus (don’t ask) seemed par for the course — junk to emerge from with a thread of dignity. Not so in a mean-spirited, insulting film that festered and reeked as disgustingly as a pus-filled boil.

Dan (Williams) and Charlie (Travolta) are middle-aged business partners charged to watch children Dan never knew he fathered.

It takes work to botch a plot even Steve Guttenberg got right twice. But “Old Dogs” sinks it with the swiftness of men tying cinderblocks to their feet — cancer support groups mocked, trunks slammed on hands, live rounds fired near children for laughs. It’s as aggressively uncomfortable as boxers after they’ve burrowed into a dark, dark place.

“Dogs” was also studio greed at its worst. Giving it a title similar to “Wild Hogs” and casting Travolta, Disney presumed its box-office profit would similarly rhyme. Thankfully, this dog had no day, earning so far below expectations that a can’t-miss “Hogs” sequel was canceled.

Note Charlie’s dog leaking urine as he crosses an apartment floor. “Old Dogs” essentially pees down its leg and calls it comedy.