This week the Littlest Princess and I trundled off to see Planet 51, then later in the week we took Mrs. Gb to see Old Dogs.
Now, these are probably two movies I wouldn’t have paid to see, instead I would have preferred to line up for, say, Sherlock Holmes, but the rest of ‘my mob’ would rather eat popcorn off the floor than watch Robert Downey Jr. puffing a long neck pipe. Elementary, dear boy. So, it’s off to watch some ‘family fare’.
Let’s just say, I’m over the whole American dream of wanting to return to the 1950’s. Sure, life was simpler, a lot friendlier, and there was a general feeling of optimism after the bloody horror of World War 2 that marred the 1940’s. And add to the mix, that the 50’s was also the birth of The Teenager.
But, the 1950’s were also marked by segregation riots, McCarthyism, and the start of the nuclear arms race. The 1950’s were wonderful if you were white, a teenager, and a law abiding protestant, eg. someone who slotted in well with the mainstream society. Funny, none of these things rated a mention in this film… possibly because it was written with five year olds in mind?
Ok, it was a classic plot. Alien boy lands dream job. Meets girl. His world is thrown into chaos by the arrival of a human astronaut (possibly the stupidest astronaut to ever graduate from the NASA academy). They risk it all. The day is saved. Boy gets girl. Boy lands dream job. Audience leaves smiling. Except for one 43 year old who was yawning. Still, it kept the little kids seated a couple of rows away quiet for a while. Something their tired mother looked grateful for.
Both Robin Williams and John Travolta have done some really good stuff in the past. They worked well together in this show, and you can clearly see that they genuinely like each other. I think they did well with the material they were given, but at the end of the show, even though I had several genuine laughs (hey, I’m a sucker for groin shot jokes), I thought they were a little flat.
There were a couple of running gags throughout the movie, and several slapstick moments which Williams pulled off with his usual style. Travolta at times looked like he was trying too hard, and, as a ‘ladies man’ he came across a bit sleazy. As I said, there were moments when I did get a few belly laughs, but I still left the movies with a sense of ‘something missing’. Maybe it was the paint by numbers plot.
Mrs. Gb, wasn’t overly impressed either, but the Littlest Princess liked it. I think she identified with John Travoltas’ daughter, particularly when she was in her Princess clobber.
So, let’s score these shows based on the following:
- Would not watch it again, even if paid to do so.
- Would not bother to watch it if shown on TV.
- Would watch it again if shown on TV.
- Would hire the DVD at a later point.
- Would buy the DVD at a later point.
Planet 51 = 2
As we drove home, The Littlest Princess and I agreed that we definitely preferred the little robot flick, Wall-E.
Old Dogs = 3
It wasn’t a bad yarn, but it wasn’t worth spending nearly $60 to watch. Wait for it to come out on DVD, and hire it on a rainy day. On the plus side, you can watch it with your family without having to worry about any overly embarrassing sexual references or swearing.