Born to Be Mild
I have to admit, when I saw the trailer for the mid-life crisis comedy Wild Hogs, I was pretty underwhelmed. the trailer was laughless, and looked like an excuse for good buddies to get together to have a good time and make a movie (in that order). When a co-worker told me it wasn’t as bad as she thought it was going to be, I was a little more enthused. Even going in with no expectations, Wild Hogs is a boar, er bore.
Lifelong friends and losers Doug (Tim Allen), Woody (John Travolta), Bobby (Martin Lawrence) and Dudley (William H. Macy) have one thing in common--they love to ride their motorcycles. Sporting leather jackets and matching ‘Wild Hogs’ logos, they ride together once a week. When Woody feels the pressure of bankruptcy and middle age, he convinces his fellow Hogs that they need to separate themselves from their mundane lives and embark on a road trip from their native Cincinnati to the Pacific Ocean. When they encounter a real biker gang and their bully-of-a-leader Jack (Ray Liotta), will the Hogs live up to their namesake or die trying?
Wild Hogs is about as derivative as you can get, without a single original thought in its collective head. It’s City Slickers meets Every Which Way But Loose, meets The Seven Samurai (or its remake The Magnificent Seven, or its remake The Three Amigos). It also has its roots in television sitcoms, from the lame jokes and slapstick humor, to obvious studio sets that are supposed be outdoor locations.
The main showcase here is the talent, all of which embarrass themselves. Tim Allen (The Santa Clause 3) continues his string of movies where he plays himself reading an unfunny script (his last good movie was Galaxy Quest--eight years ago). John Travolta (Be Cool) goes waaaaay over the top, chewing the scenery like he hasn’t eaten for a month. Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House 2) does his standard obnoxious shtick, and the best actor here, William H. Macy (Bobby) gets to play real dumb, which seems beneath him.
The supporting cast is a pretty impressive group, even if they are trapped in this black hole of a movie. There’s the aforementioned Liotta (Smokin’ Aces) who is believably sinister. Marisa Tomei (Alfie) is effectively sultry as Macy’s love interest, Maggie, and they even generate some real chemistry. Jill Hennessy (TV’s Crossing Jordan) appears for awhile as Allen’s wife (although her demeanor had me convinced she was having an affair), and I always love seeing Stephen Tobolowsky (Failure to Launch) in anything. There is even a nice cameo at the end of the movie that was very nostalgic and brought a little smile to my face.
Wild Hogs feels like a bad high school play. The script is dumb (and predictable), the laughs are few, and while it appears everyone is having a good time, maybe someone should have requested a new screenplay instead of adding another old buddy to the cast. Wild Hogs couldn’t get me to recommend this movie to anyone. Or Wild Dogs. Or...Frogs.