Dan (Robin Williams) is a successful businessman about to close a multimillion dollar deal when he receives a phone call from Vicki (Kelly Preston). She is a woman he married for just one night seven years earlier, during a hazy evening with his best mate and business partner, Charlie (John Travolta). Vicki tells him he fathered twins that night, who are now seven years old. She wants Dan to meet the twins – Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta) and Zac (Connor Rayburn).
The story becomes complicated when Vicki has to go to jail for two weeks on a peaceful protesting charge, and her babysitter is injured. Dan and Charlie step in to look after the children. Dan is the overprotective and anxious new dad, and Charlie is the irresponsible but sensitive uncle. This is a recipe for silly adventures and humorous incidents as Dan learns about the ups and downs of being a dad.
Mother in jail; children separated from their mother and left with someone they hardly know; death of a beloved dog
This movie contains frequent comic violence and accidental harm. For example:
- Dan accidentally shuts the car boot on the babysitter’s hands. When the boot opens, it hits her in the face, so she has to go to hospital.
- Charlie and another man have an argument at the children’s scout camping weekend. The other man is angry and aggressive towards Charlie.
- Dan accidentally punches another man in the face. The man’s face bleeds a lot.
- Some men have a very aggressive game of Frisbee. They tackle, punch, stomp and hurt each another. Blood is seen.
- Dan accidentally shoots off the head of the scout mascot and later accidentally sets it on fire.
- Dan plays golf with three other people. Twice he hits a golf ball into the groin of two of the men, causing them a lot of pain.
- Dan, Charlie and a workmate break into a zoo and fall into a gorilla enclosure. The gorilla attacks, but takes a liking to the workmate and cuddles him. The others escape.
- Dan and Charlie are stuck in a penguin enclosure. Charlie is attacked by the penguins.
- Dan flies a superhero flying machine but falls and hurts himself. An ambulance takes him away.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- Characters watch a brief scene from Friday the 13th.
- Charlie’s dog of 14 years dies. There is a dog funeral.
In addition to the scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, a bereavement group meets and talks about death. One person talks about a partner’s cancer and the ‘excruciating pain’ the partner was in.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
This movie contains some sexual references. For example:
- Characters flirt a lot. Dan and Charlie go on a boys’ night out in Miami and pick up girls who have been drinking. Charlie flirts with a waitress at a restaurant, and also with a translator he meets at work.
- There are a few references throughout the movie to Dan and Charlie being in a homosexual relationship. This is subtle and is unlikely to be noticed by younger children.
- The movie suggests that Dan and Vicki have sex on the night they meet. This is subtle and might not be noticed by younger children.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Dan and Charlie drink frequently throughout the movie.
- Dan and Charlie get drunk in Miami and talk to young women who are also drunk.
- Dan and Charlie accidentally swap their medications and have extreme reactions from taking the wrong medication.
Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Apple Computers, Nissan, Volvo, Sharp, Casio and Nikon.
This movie contains some mild coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Old Dogs is a comedy about family commitment. Its main messages are about the importance of family, honesty and friendship.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include loyalty and the importance of choosing family over work.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about issues with real-life consequences such as:
- Vicki’s jail term for peaceful protesting
- Vicki not telling Dan about the children for seven years
- ‘shotgun’ marriages.