Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
John Travolta and Robin Williams are no strangers to shamelessness.
Travolta instructed James Gandolfini to lick his bunghole in 2009’s 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, in 2009’s Old Dogs, Travolta and Williams’ testicular injuries 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 a pair of boxers burrowed into a 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.