I didn’t expect much going in so I was not disappointed in the least with Wild Hogs. The concept of the film – four aging friends setting out on a road trip to recapture their youth – is used, to be sure, but for some reason this incarnation struck me as funny.
Maybe it was the players, whom I thought appropriate for the roles. Tim Allen, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence, John Travolta – aging stars (forgive me, please, I mean no disrespect!) still trying to capture the box office glory. And, like their characters they were somewhat successful. After all, three weeks after its release, Wild Hogs is number two in the nation.
Maybe it was the fact that a friend and I have recently been talking about buying some motorcycles and taking a road trip. Super, I’ve now become fodder for a cheap Disney movie.
Well, anyway, the four introductory vignettes were cute, if predictable and bland. Tim Allen is a bored dentist who can’t relate to his kid (whatever will that lead up to in the end?); Macy, a geek who wants a woman but can‘t talk to one (whatever will that lead up to in the end?); Martin Lawrence, the controlled husband (whatever will that lead up to in the end?); and Travolta – well, I’ll be honest, I have no way to understand Travolta’s idiot character. I’ve never been married to a supermodel nor done any of the other things that were mentioned about his character that I can’t now remember. However, credit must go out to the writers and the actors for these four scenes. Though very short, much is conveyed about who these men are. That was impressive.
Things progress predictably from there. They are convinced by Woody (Travolta) that they have become boring. They need a road trip to revitalize their lives. They eschew all their gadgets – cell phones, GPS, everything – by tossing them away with abandon. They ride off down the freeway into adventure! Well, the most adventure four middle-aged nice guys can get into.
They burn down their tent and must sleep together on one mattress. Of course, this means that they must meet a police officer who is very… interested in the lurid details of what he thinks these four guys were doing all night. I’d just like to mention that the movie would have been much stronger without this part. Anyway, they continue on their journey, go skinny dipping in a pond and scare a nice mid-western family and eventually anger some “real” bikers. We all knew that was coming. I didn't expect the bar to blow up, though. Watching Travolta's reaction to the fireball he sees in his mirror was pretty funny. In fact, it was the only thing of merit he accomplished in the whole movie.
Through all of this, the characters were fun to watch. They reacted to things in a sincere manner. Travolta was the weakest point of the film. His character was just too overblown. He got on my nerves after a while. If this guy had been my friend, I would have stopped speaking to him ten minutes after I met him. I definitely wouldn’t have gone on a road trip with him. And I would have fed him to the bikers right off.
Even though the progress of the film was predictable, I still found myself laughing. When Tim Allen’s character, Doug, flew into a tirade about manliness and began eating mashed potatoes by the handful and just drinking gravy – I laughed. Macy’s bumbling was even funny. Travolta was annoying, which I think I’ve mentioned.
The end was well done. I expected a very Disney-esque climax when the four suburbanites were facing down the bikers. I expected rescue to come at any moment prior to violence breaking out. But, not so. The town of Madrid took its licks and the four stars did, too. Over and over. My favorite part of the whole film was the end. The Home Makeover thing was absolutely hilarious. Watching Ray Liotta as a tough biker getting very emotional and confused was just funny.
This movie was a worthwhile diversion. It makes you laugh and, very gently and unobtrusively, might make you reflect humorously on your own life.
Or not. Either way, it’s just fun to watch.