WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Charlie and Dan never got into the whole concept of family. Not really. They didn’t really need to. They had each other, after all.

For 30 years, these two high school chums hung out together, started a business together, and when Dan divorced his wife, they zipped down to Florida together where Dan got drunk, acquired a massive tattoo and married a near-complete stranger named Vicki.

Once Dan sobered up he knew something had to go … and he couldn’t get rid of the tattoo. So now Charlie tells business associates that Dan’s the only guy he knows who’s been "divorced twice in a 24-hour period."

Yes, the two of them (along with Charlie’s incontinent dog, Lucky) go together like cereal and milk, like turkey and stuffing, and sometimes … like Lou Dobbs and CNN.

Then one day, Vicki stops by for a visit. Dan hasn’t seen her in, oh, seven years. But spurred by a lovelorn letter from him, Vicki arrives to tell him that a) It’s really nice to see you again, b) I’m going to jail (but only for a couple of weeks), and c) I’d like you to meet your kids.

One thing leads to another. And when it turns out that Vicki could sure use a babysitter while she’s in prison, Dan volunteers to watch them—even though he doesn’t know anything about kids, doesn’t particularly like kids and most of his interactions with kids wind up with someone getting a bloody nose.

"You���re allergic to anything under 4 feet," Charlie tells him.

Dan acknowledges the truth of this kindly critique, and immediately drafts his best bud for babysitting duty, too. Charlie reluctantly acquiesces—even though the two of them are in the middle of the biggest business deal of their lives. I mean, how hard could watching two 7-year-olds be?

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Digging past the frenetic fire-starting, back-injuring, full-contact-Frisbee-playing, penguin-attacking action, moviegoers will find an oddly touching rumination on fatherhood. For seven years, Dan’s kids have longed to have a father. Emily pretended he was a superhero. Zach made lists of what they might do together should they ever meet. And when Vicki received Dan’s out-of-the-blue letter, she suddenly realizes that Zach’s never seen the inside of a men’s restroom before.

"My kids are 7," she tells Dan. "They have a father. I thought it was time they got to know who he is."

Dan has no clue how to interact with them at first: He shakes hands with Emily to say good night at first, and he admits to both of them that he’s struggling to be a good father. But after scores of slapstick missteps, he comes to realize that he doesn’t need to be a superhero. He doesn’t need to be perfect. He just needs to be there.

And so he goes to outrageous lengths to do just that, giving up a career-making gig and risking the wrath of several zoo animals. "I just want to be with you guys," he says. "Forever, if you’ll let me."

Charlie and Dan showcase an odd but ultimately endearing friendship. Charlie works hard to help Dan connect with his children and risks his own well-being to reunite them. And Dan mourns with Charlie when his beloved Lucky passes away—bearing a new puppy to the funeral.

"You’re not just my best friend," Dan says. "You’re the best kind of friend."

Spiritual Content

Dan and Vicki get married in a church. (It’s an incidental detail seeing as how they’ve just met and are quite inebriated at the time.)

Sexual Content

Because Charlie and Dan have been such close compadres for so long, some people wonder, at times, whether they’re not just "best buds," though none of the references would necessarily catch the attention of a typical 8-year-old.

When childproofing experts come to kid-proof Charlie’s bachelor pad, for example, the workers assume Charlie and Dan are a couple.

"That’s progressive," one says. "I’m all for it."

A counselor at a weekend wilderness camp makes the same mistake, and calls them "ladies," much as a drill sergeant would call green recruits ladies. When Charlie and Dan see a couple of real ladies in Florida, Charlie tells Dan to give them the "queen wave." Dan throws a limp-wristed wave in their direction before Charlie corrects him: "No, the other one," he says, and Dan begins waving a bit like the queen of England.

Dan and Vicki conceive their progeny in wedlock—albeit barely. (We never see them even kiss.) Zach asks Dan if he knows where babies come from, and when Dan says yes, Zach asks, "Can you tell me?" Dan dances around the subject before finally saying, "It’s complicated."

One of Charlie’s friends says, "Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am." Charlie makes minor moves on a waitress, a spray-tan technician and a Japanese interpreter. (In the epilogue we see that he and one of the women are new parents; we don’t know if they’re married.) A couple of women wear somewhat revealing clothing, and Dan strips down to a Speedo.

Violent Content

Old Dogs comes from the Three Stooges school of comedy. And because it does there’s lots and lots of straight-up slapstick … and punchstick and bitestick and slamyourfingersinthetrunkstick.

That last item involves a hand model’s hand getting smashed in a car trunk. (The film’s makers must’ve assumed the gag would be funnier if both the woman’s fingers and career could be simultaneously crushed.) When Dan opens the trunk, the poor woman’s head gets bashed.

Dan thwacks a couple of business associates with golf balls, and kills a bird with one, too. Men are chased—and one is captured—by a gorilla. One guy is attacked by penguins that seemed to have missed their casting call for an Alfred Hitchcock film. (We see them biting his arms and ears, and there’s a suggestion that one chomps down on a more sensitive part of his anatomy.)

Dan plunges into a lake from a great height, necessitating an ambulance ride. He’s shocked by an electrical device he’s jammed down his pants. And he beans a kid in the head with a soccer ball. Charlie and Dan engage in the most violent game of Ultimate Frisbee ever. (One participant is shown with a mouth full of blood.) Dan shoots the head off a wooden monument and later sets it on fire.

"We should get merit badges for just being his kids," Emily tells Zach.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is interjected at least a half-dozen times. Characters say "gosh" another handful of times. Name-calling includes "idiot and "stupid."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Down in Florida, Dan and Charlie are served a couple of massive margaritas. "Do these drinks come with a diving board?" Dan asks. We later see the two toast a business success with champagne.

Dan and Charlie are getting older, and so they have several prescription medications to take each morning. When the children mistakenly spill the pills in the sink, they try to put them back where they were … but, of course, they wind up supplying Dan and Charlie with the wrong meds. The result: Charlie gets the munchies and eats a pie face-first in an embarrassing social situation; Dan loses all sense of depth perception on the golf course. Both also develop problems with their facial muscles.

Other Negative Elements

Zach accidentally spills a glass of water on Charlie’s lap in a restaurant—a spill that everyone around them mistakes for incontinence. That gag also expands to Charlie’s dog. Several steps worse, Dan smears what he thinks is mud underneath his and Charlie’s eyes. When he discovers that the "mud" is bear feces, Dan turns to Charlie and says, "Scat happens, man."

There’s more: Embarrassing noises come from bathroom stalls. "Poop" and other slang expressions for bathroom activities made it from script to screen.

Dan and Charlie break into a zoo. Dan tries to sneak his kids into his adults-only condo. Vicki lies to her kids about where she’ll be for two weeks, telling them she’s going to a spa. Child-proofing experts eat food that isn’t theirs. The kids stick a bunch of insulting sticky notes on the back of one of Charlie and Dan’s business associates. Several people act inappropriately in public settings.

Dan, Charlie, Emily and Zach watch one of the Friday the 13th movies.

Conclusion

Back in the day, when I was about 7, I used to schedule my weekend around a show called The Wonderful World of Disney. It was stocked with middling children’s movies that, for an adult, were painfully predictable. But they induced plenty of giggles in kids like me. Among them: The Cat From Outer Space, The Shaggy D.A., Herbie Goes to the Republic of Andorra.

Old Dogs reminds me, for better or worse, of The Wonderful World of Disney.

It’s more crass than the shows I remember, of course. Flatulence jokes? Urinating dogs? No way. Not back then. Saying "scat happens" on the most kid-friendly show on TV would’ve been enough to get you permanently tossed into Walt Disney’s doghouse.

But neither is Old Dogs like Wild Hogs, the last "family" film Walt Becker directed. Profanity is light, and the script goes through some amazing contortions to ensure that Dan does not sire his progeny out of wedlock. Family is at the forefront, as is selflessness and friendship.

I guess you could say this is one old dog of a film that tries to be family friendly even if it’s not exactly sure how to be clean and funny at the same time.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!