Review in a Hurry: Who let this Dogs out—and why wasn't it put down instead? With John Travolta and Robin Williams mugging as best buds who care for two 7-year-olds, this stinky mutt of a movie pees on your leg and tells you it's comedy.
The Bigger Picture: Here we go again. Just months after the Nickelodeon/Eddie Murphy bomb Imagine That, Disney and the folks who sicced Wild Hogs on us unleash this similarly formulaic junk about a bad dad who learns to treasure his kids. If there were any laughs here, it might be forgivable, but humor-neutered Dogs sniffs of desperation, with gags that go over the top while also scraping bottom.
Creepy, flirtatious bachelor Charlie (Travolta) and sad-sack divorcé Dan (Williams) are longtime friends and business partners. During negotiations for a huge marketing deal, Dan finds out he has fraternal twins from a one-day marriage eight years ago. Now their mom, Vicki (Kelly Preston), is headed to jail for two weeks—this being a family film, she's incarcerated for environmental activism—so Dan and Charlie agree to watch the children while she's gone.
If his spawn had been terrors, this might've been somewhat entertaining. But they're generic, charmless kids who just wanna connect with Daddy. But Daddy Dan doesn't know how to be a good parent—and Dogs doesn't know how to develop its well-worn premise. So it cobbles random humiliating situations for the bumbling fiftysomething boomers and tosses in potty humor, gay jokes, punches to the face, golf balls to the groin, etc.
In one particularly moronic sequence, Charlie decides Dan could better relate to his kids by becoming...a human puppet. Okayyy. He hires a flamboyant puppeteer (Bernie Mac in, sadly, his last role) to suit Dan up with robotics and a probe down his pants, which Charlie operates from a video monitoring room. Hilarious.
Disney recently and successfully exploited the reformed-dad formula in The Game Plan, so rent that, if you must. But don't get collared into Old Dogs.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Several celebrity cameos—by Matt Dillon, Justin Long, Ann Margaret, Rita Wilson and Amy Sedaris—offer at least brief distractions from the inanity.
There's so much else to see, too—have a look in our Totally New Releases gallery!