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Films: Old Dogs *

(comedy. Starring Robin Williams, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Matt Dillon and Seth Green. Directed by Walt Becker. cert PG )

It's always good to go into a film with an open mind so I really tried to ignore the sense of foreboding that "from the director of Wild Hogs" instilled before watching Old Dogs. Sadly all assumptions proved correct. Robin Williams and John Travolta are no strangers to bad family movies but they've hit a new low here. The pair star as best friends and business partners Dan (Williams) and Charlie (Travolta). Dan's a socially inept workaholic while Charlie is a perpetual bachelor who, for some reason, is a hit with the laydees. Ah, remember when Travolta was handsome?

The two run a sports marketing business and are on the verge of making the biggest deal of their lives (cue the obligatory gang of Japanese businessmen, laughing insanely at Charlie's stories) when Dan's old flame Vicki (Preston) pops up. She and Dan had met seven years previously in South Beach where Dan got over his difficult divorce by getting drunk, meeting and marrying Vicki one night and getting divorced the next day.

He never truly got over her though, so when she turns up he's delighted. The seven-year-old twins (played by Conner Rayburn and Travolta's real-life daughter Ella Bleu) are a bit of a shock, particularly when Vicki tells Dan he's their father. Oh and Vicki has to go to prison for two weeks and needs Dan to mind them, thanks.

Now Dad and Charlie have to juggle babysitting the two kids with negotiating their multi-million dollar business deal and hilarity ensues. Except it doesn't.

We'll ignore the fact that Vicki only knew Dan for one night almost a decade ago and is now trusting him with her beloved offspring. Plot analysis is never advisable when it comes to films like this and a lot of daft scenarios are forgivable if the film works in other ways but this is just so very, very bad.

Even cameos from Justin Long, Matt Dillon and the late Bernie Mac, can't save it. Seth Green, who stars as Dan and Charlie's over-eager assistant, can usually be trusted to bring some laughs but he manages to disappoint as well. Avoid. HIIII