In a review posted sometime earlier today called “Is It Possible To Hate A Film More Than Old Dogs?,” HitFix’s Drew McWeeny begins by saying “if Old Dogs were a person, I would stab it in the face.” That’s pretty good but it would have been better if he’d mentioned the weapon. As in “stab it in the face with a sharp No. 2 pencil” or “stab it in the face with an Exacto knife.”
The worst comedies, I can tell you, always resort to fear-of-nature gags. Movies that cater to or fan this mindset, like the above Old Dogs trailer clearly does, are beyond deplorable.
The idea is that nature will prey on you, kill you, peck you, drown you, piss on you, beat you to death, etc. This, I suspect, is what the average Eloi or middle-aged mall dweller is afraid of, and why a lot of them think global warming isn’t such a bad thing (or at least isn’t something to get too upset over) because who cares if those scary-ass predators have it tough out in the wild? Fuck ’em. We’re doin’ just fine in our sanitized, air-conditioned comfort zone, where nature can’t touch us.
“Millions of years from now,.” McWeeny begins, “after Western Civilization has fallen and the Earth has ruptured and cooled and been reborn and a new life form has taken over the planet, if any of them happen to stumble upon a working DVD player and a copy of Old Dogs,, they will sum up the passing of our culture with two simple words: ‘Good riddance.’
“It is rare that I hate a film with the feverish intensity that I feel towards this one, but it hit pretty much every single button for me, and by halfway through, I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin.
“What I thought was going to be a mediocre family-themed comedy instead struck me as one of the most singularly vile experiences I’ve had in a theater all year.
“To give you an idea how wretched the film is, if you take the worst Robin Williams film, multiply it by the worst John Travolta film, and then multiply that by Wild Hogs, the last film from director Walt Becker, you would still end up with something better than this.
“Old Dogs is the story of two ostensible adult human beings who, confronted with spending 14 days in the presence of twin seven-year-olds, promptly go insane and begin acting in a manner which would land any person in the real world in jail or the morgue. Deservedly. Nothing in this film resembles any recognizable behavior of any actual person ever.
“At one point, Bernie Mac shows up as a puppeteer who literally wires Robin Williams up with a magical bio-rig that transforms him into…and I quote…a ‘human puppet’ who is controlled via remote by John Travolta so that Williams can have a tea party with his daughter. And although I was sliding in and out of consciousness by this point, numb from the horror, I’m almost positive a Motown song plays over the resulting montage.
“And that is not the worst scene in the film.”