Skip to main content

The Family Comedy

This is a fair representation of a family these days... right?
This is a fair representation of a family these days... right?

What qualifies as a family film? To me, it's a movie that any one in any age group can enjoy whether the children are 5-18, the parents are 30-60 or the grandparents are over 60. I don't much like the term family film because it really depends on the family. No one in my family wanted to go see Planet 51 but my whole family went to see Zombieland. Does that mean Zombieland is a family film? No. It just means I have a really cool family. 

Once again, a family film is one that can appeal to all age groups. By default, it can't be overloaded with offensive material so all R-rated films are immediately out of the mix. Night at the Museum is a good example of a family film because the concept alone is accessible to a wide range of age groups. 

I speak about family films today because of the latest mishap to come out of the Disney hack factory, Old Dogs. I was home for Thanksgiving and my family decided to go see this. Old Dogs calls itself a family comedy but there isn't any reason to laugh. I don't even get the category of family comedies. Does anybody go see family horrors? 

Old Dogs doesn't have any sort of narrative whatsoever. It is full of hijinks. They just thought of more and more ridiculous situations to put the characters through including an intense game of ultimate frisbee that is a shot by shot replica of the football scene in Wedding Crashers. But families don't go see R-rated movies like I've already stated so they won't know the difference. By the end of the movie, Robin Williams and John Travolta are breaking into a zoo and Robin Williams is flying a jet pack because he's pretending to be a superhero. There is no motivation given to any of these elaborate set ups. Disney is just hoping you'll laugh until the cows come home at Seth Green getting git in the nuts. 

Movies like Old Dogs puzzle me. There are called family films but how can families digest such drivel? Families should be given better options for time spent. Shame on Disney, a trusted family entertainment industry, for serving up such a mess. They should have to give out a single day pass to each person who even spends a dime on this turkey. 


  • KL 5 years ago

    I believe the only service the family-film label provides is "you're not going to like this film, but it's not a cartoon and you can still take your kids to see it when it's your day to have them."
    My family road-trips everywhere. One thing we've learned along the way is that, like films, restaurants labeled "family" should be avoided.