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Movie Review

Old Dogs a.k.a. “Daddy oder Deal,” “Dos canguros muy maduros,” “Papy-Sitter”

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor.

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Family
Family Comedy
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 25, 2009 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: March 9, 2010
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Divorce in the Bible

Drunkenness in the Bible

Featuring: John Travolta (as Charlie), Robin Williams (Dan), Kelly Preston, Conner Rayburn, Ella Bleu Travolta, Lori Loughlin, Seth Green, Bernie Mac, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, Rita Wilson, Amy Sedaris, Residente, Saburo Shimono, Kevin W. Yamada, Kevin Dean-Hackett, Laura Allen, Sam Travolta, Margaret Travolta, Nick Loren, Kenneth Maharaj, Nova Mejia, Margaret Goodman, Jerome Weinstein, Allie Woods Jr., Michael Enright, Alexa Havins, Keenan Shimizu, Akira Takayama, Shirô Oishi, Yoshio Mita, Seiji Kakizaki, Keisuke Jim Nagahama, Dominick Riccardi, Costas Panay, Kate Lacey, Denise Violante, Tonia-Marie Gallo, Jin Hwa Hwang, Marcel Becker, Alison Pelletier, Dylan Sprayberry, Joey Pordan, Jason Davies, Alicia Mazepa, Marielys Molina, Charlene Smith, Tera Lee Pollin, Brendan King, Jason Dougherty, Christine Anderson, Kevin Aubin, Crystal Anderson, Erynn Dickerson, Edward Noel, MacNeal John Kennedy, Matt Vogel, Josh Cohen, R. Bruce Connelly, Joe Kovacs
Director: Walt Becker
Producer: Tapestry Films, Walt Disney Pictures, Peter Abrams, Garrett Grant, Robert L. Levy, Andrew Panay, Brian Robbins
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Life is not child-proof”

Dan (Robin Williams) and Charlie (John Travolta) have been the best of friends for most of their lives. Seeing each other through childhood and adolescence, they went on to develop an incredibly successful business together, as adults. Charlie stood by, as a friend, while Dan’s marriage fell apart and he tried to pick up the pieces of his life—just as Dan stood by non-judgmentally as Charlie lived the life of a playboy with expensive tastes and many women. Just after Dan’s divorce, Charlie even went as far as to take Dan to Miami, in an attempt to party the sadness out of him and convert Dan to his own careless and free way of living.

Instead, after a tattoo venture gone wrong, Dan met Vicki (Kelly Preston). Believing what they shared was love at first sight, he and Vicki were wed in a quickie chapel, only for Charlie to convince Dan to annul the marriage almost as quickly as it began, and walk away from Vicki forever.

Seven years later, and on the eve of an enormous opportunity for their company, Dan’s second ex-wife Vicki drops in to pay him a visit. Over those past years, Dan has battled himself over whether or not Vicki had actually been the love of his life. Her asking to meet with him, out of the blue, leads him to believe that she feels the same way. The very last thing Dan expects to hear is that he is the father of her 7 year old Twins Zach and Emily.

What follows seems to be one calamity after another, taking each of these men on a journey to becoming much better versions of themselves…

The Positive

  • Although often in a cheesy and comedic way, this film addresses real issues about misconceptions children have of their absentee fathers.
  • Most Hollywood films would turn this movie into a love story between the parents, leaving the kids to be irrelevant details. I loved that this movie leads you to see that Dan and Vicki do truly care about each other, but that it isn’t the focus or the priority.
  • The friendship between Dan and Charlie is really beautiful, warts and all. Without giving anything away, there is a memorial service scene that really touched me in regards to this subject.
  • Watching Dan change, as a father, and the relationship develop (and stumble) between he and the kids is probably as realistic and relatable as a family comedy could get. Kudos to the film makers for really putting the focus on the things which were necessary.

The Negative

  • As I mentioned, Charlie is a sort of a womanizer. Though this is mentioned (and briefly insinuated in a few scenes), there isn’t anything incredibly inappropriate.
  • There is a little language, but compared to even some of the more recent animated films, this movie really does manage to stay family-friendly.
  • It’s implied, in one scene, that Dan and Charlie are two gay men raising the kids together. No blatant accusation is ever made, and it does actually end up to be a really funny scene.
  • There is some comedic violence, a few accidental injuries—all pretty tame. There is a bit of crude humor, but, again, in comparison to other films geared towards families, it’s pretty mild.

Quality wise, “Old Dogs” is pretty average. There are some instances where special effects are quite unrealistic, but the kids will really get a kick out of it, so it somehow makes it ok. Anymore, I feel like I find myself grimacing more and more when I watch these family genre movies with my kids. “Old Dogs” was refreshing, for me, because that just wasn’t the case. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments; one can only hope Hollywood will start to see that family geared films don’t have to push so many boundaries to be a hit…

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—My friend and I took our grandchildren (ages 8 and 10) to see this film and we all had a great time. I haven’t laughed so hard at any movie in the last ten years. I wish Hollywood would produce more of this type of comedy. There are so many R rated movies out there that aren’t fit for any age. We really liked this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mary Kay, age 71 (USA)
Positive—I’m so glad we didn’t read the reviews first before seeing this film. My husband and I laughed so hard, as did all others in the audience! After walking out of so many films, we found this one such a delight. No violence, no nudity, no sex, no perversion, no homosexuality (overtly shoved down our throats anyway), no profanity. We should be applauding Hollywood for finally coming out with a movie that doesn’t promote a liberal, immoral agenda. No, I would not bring my 7-year-old to it, but hey, it’s Hollywood. And Hoorah for Hollywood this time!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Cherié, age 54 (USA)
Positive—…My husband and I haven’t laughed so hard in a movie. And the others in the audience were also! Thank you, Hollywood, for coming out with a movie that promotes honoring your parenting responsibilities, marriage, male friendship, loyalty and choices that honor family, not career. There’s hardly a movie out there (and I mainly see animated ones with my 7-year-old) that doesn’t promote homosexuality, violence, Christian-bashing, profanity, nudity, sexuality, drug abuse or taking our Lord’s name and abusing it. This is not that kind of a movie. Thank you, Hollywood, for getting this one as good as it can possibly be. No, it is not a Christian movie; but it does hold values that are seldom seen on even a tv screen in our home.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Cherié, age 54 (USA)
Positive—This movie was awesome! I loved the fact that there was not one bit of cussing or sex in this movie! Not to mention the ending. This movie truly is one to go down in the books as a family favorite. I would watch it all over again and again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jennifer, age 35 (USA)
Positive—We took our 5 year old to see this film. It had a nice storyline. The moral of the movie basically came down to love each other not material items. Which is a very good lesson. To me the most offensive part of the story were children being born out of wedlock from a drunken one night stand. If you can see the big picture here and realize the repercussions of these type of actions, then great. But so often the repercussions are down played.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Christy, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Overall, this was a good family movie. My kids are 11 and 13. In the beginning there is reference to a prior divorce in a “remember when” sequence that lasts only a few minutes. In it, there is reference to divorce, getting drunk, getting a quickie Las Vegas marriage, then another divorce. The result of this, the man finds out, was 2 children he never knew he had. The mother has to go away to jail for a few weeks (a sentence she received for demonstrating a company dumping toxic chemicals in a creek near her home where her children play), and the dad has to watch the kids he just found out he had.

Other than the references to divorce, Las Vegas partying, etc. it was a pretty wholesome film. There were no curse words at all that we noticed. No nudity, no sexual references to speak of. The man chooses his family over his career and does “the right thing” with a lot of fun and comedy (albeit silly sometimes) along the way. I laughed a little, my husband laughed a lot, my kids he-hawed at times. Overall, I’d recommend it.

I forgot to mention, at one point someone assumes the man and his best friend are the kids' “two dads” and homosexuality (or the mistaken thought of it) is implied. Just wanted to add that to my other commentary! Young kids might not catch this, I’m not sure if mine did as they are 11 and 13. My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Staci, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I watched this movie on Thanksgiving night. I really did enjoy the movie. You will laugh, cry, laugh, cry… Within the movie there are a few things that some Christ-followers may have subjective opinions about:

1.) There is a scene that refers to the men being gay. The word “gay” was not mentioned, but it was implied (but the men were not gay)

2.) Two men get a golf ball hit at their private parts, but no words to describe it happening.

3.) One of the characters mentioned casinos to the kids very briefly.

4.) Lastly, one man mentions watching Friday the 13th with the kids, and later in the movie it shows the kids watching a scene.

I am a babysitter and I would share this movie with them. I truly enjoyed the movie. The theme of what is important in life is well displayed within the movie. As christians, God is number one in our life (which the movie does not say), but right after God, family should be number two.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mandy, age 22 (USA)
Positive—“Old Dogs” stars acting veterans Robin Williams and John Travolta as two best friends who run a marketing business. At the eve of the making of the greatest deal of their lives, Williams' character discovers he has twin kids from a shotgun marriage seven years ago. First he has to learn to understand them and then he has to learn to love them. What follows is a hilarious comedy of stunts, dialog, slapstick, and out of control humor. Travolta and Williams are hilarious together and their chemistry is priceless.

I would also warn that the Lord’s name is taken in vain a few times. Being about kids, there are a few potty humor jokes and a few scenes where crotches get hit by golf balls. The idea of divorce and shotgun marriages are dealt with this film which may offend a few. There is a scene where a few guys think the two main characters are gay, but in fact they are not, only best friends. There is a few scenes of violence when a game of ultimate Frisbee is played with “army rules.”

This aside, I would recommend this film to the whole family. Everyone will like it, from mom and dad to the kids. The promotion of getting close to your family and learning to love them far outweigh any bad in the film. Go and enjoy it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jacob Airey, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I have seen this movie 4 times and each time I laugh more than the time before. I’ve recommended it to several others, and without exception, they agree that it is one of the funniest and cleanest movies they have ever seen. I’ve noticed that the secular movie reviewers don’t like it. That alone should tell you how good it is.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—John C., age 65 (USA)


Negative—I do not recommend this movie for Christians with small kids. There is questionable content that you will have to explain to your kids. The first 10 minutes are fairly “adult” in nature. Dan is divorced twice; marriage is not held up high at all in this movie. Dan and Charlie go to Miami to party and drink and Dan gets a tattoo, which is not done correctly. Charlie is indeed a womanizer, and the ladies in the movie are usually wearing low cut blouses. Overall, there are many funny parts in this movie. But there is too much immorality. This was not at all Robin Williams and John Travolta at their best.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Samantha, age 24 (USA)
Negative—The movie is fine, but not going to win any Academy Awards for the script and sometimes delivery. It is sometimes rather funny. Granted, compared to most movies, this is not nearly as bad (morally). So even though I gave it a negative, if you watch other movies that are more offensive, then do please actually watch this one to encourage movie producers to move more this direction. I strongly suggest you contact the maker praising it, overall, but asking them to notice a few things they could improve next time.

The overall worldview is not really Biblical, except for doing the right thing for your family, which is an important point. Families are treated very transient, and while he seems to do the right thing, you can tell their attitude would really fall more into the post-modern, whatever is right for you… way of thought. At the very end it does show even the other male character learns what is more important as well. Doing the right thing should have been chosen for the sake of a wife also however, not just children. Frequently overlooked emphasis on children first, when it should be marriage itself first, then family. We teach on the importance of a “children first” type of attitude, but that really is lowering the bar. The references to being gay are not really for younger children, but at least were not followed with a “not that’s anything wrong with that” by the characters you are supposed to empathize with and like. Also, there was more than one scene that alluded to that: the baby-proofers and the camping scene.

My biggest complaint however is the dress the woman wear. Yes, while one male is in nothing but underwear or bathing suit (Speedo), truthfully not many women are going to be tempted to lust after men this way, so much less of an issue than the continuous low-cut or form fitting tops on almost all of the women. The only reason to dress that way is to draw attention to your breasts to be sexually attractive. That’s really the only purpose if were honest. This is a problem for many men (because they’ve allowed it to be), but it is, nonetheless. While it is getting worse, most real women do not wear revealing tops that show so much of the breasts. Can we not increase the acceptance of that as okay, and then wonder why we have so many sexual sin problems in our culture (unwed pregnancies, abortions, rape, etc. … etc. …)? Why would be constantly stimulate the sex drive and expect nothing to happen? Women’s dress in so called “clean” or “family” or worse yet, “Christian” films is, by far, the biggest problem I see regularly. The easy test God gives is does it make you even momentarily think or notice anything you would not want to think or notice about your mother or daughter or sister… treat the other women (who aren’t your wife) as such He says. So if even form fitting clothing or cleavage gets your attention, and that same thing, thinking or feeling would feel even a little not right about your mom, sister or daughter… that is sin. Contrary to the “second glance” standard, the first one may already be sin. I guess you would have to judge that here on your own.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Leslie, age 40 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I thought this movie was going to be a repeat of “Imagine That!”, but I was surprised! It had good quality fun and was not like anything I thought it was! I especially liked the part where Craig is in the gorilla enclosure singing!!! The movie brought laughter all around and I think it is well-worth your money!!!… Some stuff may go over little kids heads though.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Hannah Peters, age 12 (USA)
Positive—…movie was funny and dumb, but, overall, it was good. The funny part was one of the guys was in the monkey pit, and he was singing to the monkey!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Alex Wever, age 13 (USA)
Positive—I and my family really enjoyed this movie… It was hilarious! Hollywood should make more films like “Old Dogs.” I recommend it for ages 8+.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 11 (USA)
Positive—it was great and funny!!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Alex William, age 12 (USA)
Negative—Having seen “Transformers 2,” which won the worst movie of the year award, this one deserved to win it. Everything about this movie is awful. The timing of the jokes were awful, even thought the jokes weren’t that good to begin with. This movie was cheesy and predictable. You have seen this before. Dad gets kids, doesn’t live up to his promise and the kids get angry. This is THE WORST disney movie I have ever seen. Yea, that’s right worse than “Bedtime Stories.” As far as objectionable content goes, this movie isn’t very objectionable. Their is one joke made about homosexuals but it will go over kids younger than eleven’s head. Please don’t rent this movie. It is a waste of money and time. If you want to see a good family movie, rent either, “Where the Wild Things Are” or "Fantastic Mr. Fox."
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Langston, age 12 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—My wife and I could not make it past the first 10 minutes of this movie for the following reasons:

1. We started watching this movie, and too many unwholesome scenes were shown in the first 10 minutes…

-The women were not dressed as modestly as I’ve seen in most other PG movies and Robin Williams himself wore far too-little clothes in one scene.
-There were also many worldy themes and a few offensive words presented in that 10 minutes.

2. The movie also did not catch our interests due to its manic flashback stuffed opening.
—Ben Page, age 27 (USA)