Opening 14 Jan 2010
Two old friends, who are also business partners, get more than they bargain for when happenstance intervenes. Charlie (John Travolta) and Dan (Robin Williams) are carefree and fun loving until Dan’s ex-wife of one night, Vicki (Kelly Preston), pops back into the picture with the news that she is on her way to serve a two-week jail sentence. This is interesting because she wants Dan to keep an eye on her friend, who is to take care of her, i.e., their, seven-year-old twins.
Inadvertently these two bachelors end up in charge of Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta) and Zach (Conner Rayburn). Bad timing for Dan and Charlie: they are on the brink of the biggest marketing deal of their lives, the client is in Japan, and they do not speak Japanese. The faltering duo stumbles from one comic catastrophe to the next, but along the way learn one of life’s simplest truisms.
The chemistry between Travolta and Williams, true-life, off-screen, life-long friends, is tangible in this film. Combine that with a great supporting cast: Seth Green, Lori Loughlin, Matt Dillon, and the late Bernie Mac. It is David Diamond and David Weissman’s script that wallows in clichés (such as pie-in-the-face and misguided golf balls to the groin), and Walt Becker’s sloppy direction – let’s add to the mix Ryan Folsey and Tom Lewis’s editing, for allowing all those boom-mic-in-the-frame shots to slip through, and Jeffrey L. Kimball’s skewed camera work – that challenge viewers’ patience. It is an old story with old jokes, but these two old-dog veterans are still able to deliver a good ol’ slapstick comedy. (Marinell Haegelin)