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PCR #505 (Vol. 10, No. 48). This edition is for the week of November 23--29, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Old Dogs"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Old Dogs"  by Mike Smith
Show Review: Renninger's Antique Extravaganza 2009  by ED Tucker
Utada’s Shot at the U.S. Market  by Jason Fetters
I Visit The Slaughterhouse  by John Miller
Like Father Like Son .... See You In Hell (you, Not Me) .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2  by Mike Smith
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Walt Disney Pictures     
Starring: Robin Williams, John Travolta and Seth Green
Directed by: Walt Becker
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 28 mins

Charlie (Travolta) and Dan (Williams) have been friends and business partners for 30 years. It’s been eight years since, in one blurred trip, the two celebrated Dan’s divorce by traveling to Miami, where Dan promptly meets Vicki (Kelly Preston) and marries her. Wising up he has the marriage annulled but now, years later, he regrets the decision. He longs to rekindle the flame with Vicki. Unbeknownst to Dan, Vicki is looking for him as well. Not to rekindle any flames but to drop off his kids!

A slapstick comedy that plays on the improvisational talents of its leads, “Old Dogs” is a welcome return vehicle for both Robin Williams, who underwent heart surgery last year, and John Travolta, who tragically lost his son, Jett, earlier this year. The two actors, friends since their days as Mork from Ork and Vinnie Barbarino on television, play off each other well. The story is standard Disney fish-out-of-water (think “3 Men and A Baby”). Vicki has been sentenced to spend 2 weeks in jail due to being arrested at a protest rally. She needs someone to watch the kids (Ella Bleu Travolta and Connor Rayburn) while she’s indisposed and has no one else to turn to but Dan. However, Dan lives in an “adults only” community so he and the kids are forced to bunk with Charlie, who cannot believe the children haven’t seen “Friday the 13th”…parts one or two. To complicate their lives more, the men are involved in a major business deal with a group of Japanese businessmen and are forced to rely on their assistant (Seth Green). In all of the chaos Dan tries his best to connect with his children, though mostly with less then stellar results.

Director Becker, who also did “Van Wilder” and “Wild Hogs” has a light touch behind the camera and the comedy flows easily. He also has filled the film with some hilarious cameos from such stars as Ann Margaret, Justin Long, Luis Guzman, Matt Dillon and the late Bernie Mac in his final film role. The screenplay, by “Evolution” writers David Diamond and David Weissman, is basically an outline for Williams and Travolta to work with, filling in the blanks with their own funny banter. The fact that they have been friends in real life for 30 years allows the two stars to show a true friendship on screen, which helps the film in its’ occasional slow spots. Though almost a secondary character, Preston is strong and both kids score points without being precocious. With only the hard to judge “Princess and the Frog” and another Chipmunk movie on the horizon for the holidays, I think I can safely say that “Old Dogs” will be the family comedy of the season.

On a scale of zero to four I give “Old Dogs”

This week's movie review of "Old Dogs" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.