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Movie Review: Wild Hogs

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What do you get when you combine the likes of John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy? You get one of the oddest collections of talent to play co-leads in a comedy in some time. I remember first seeing the trailer and marveling at the seemingly odd casting choice, but the laugh-inducing clip was enough to get me past the initial shock of the casted players.

As I approached the theater, I had a strong suspicion that this was going to be a terrible movie. When I left the theater, my feelings of disappointment had not been completely assuaged, yet I found myself uplifted by the fact that it may have been dumb, but it was also hilarious.

One thing that made Wild Hogs stand out from the many comedies that have come over the past year is who it seemed to be made for. It seems as through the majority of goofy comedies are made for the teen and young adult set; very few dumb comedies are targeted for those who are middle-aged. While it does have a different target audience, many of the jokes know no limits and it should play well across the board.

Wild Hogs is something of an Easy Rider with a mid-life crisis. The counter-culture rebels of yesteryear have all grown up, moved to the suburbs and started families. They have forgotten, or ignored, much of their youthful idealism, slowly being compromised by the day to day drudgery of life as a "mature adult." It is a fate that they seem to be resigned to; the only vestige of their past is their weekly motorcycle ride to a bar where they have a few beers and waste away the afternoon.

They all seem to be content with the way things are going, until Woody (John Travolta) finds his life to be crumbling around him. His supermodel wife has left him, he has lost his job, and he has fast become broke. In an attempt to escape the troubles of his life, he convinces his remaining three friends to go on a road trip, from Cincinnati to the Pacific, in an effort to prove they are only as old as they feel, a way to recapture the youthful wildness that has been bottled away, deep inside. Of course it is a ruse, but only partly. Woody just wants to be happy, and is being a little selfish in his pursuit of escape. Well, the ruse works and Woody, Doug (Tim Allen), Bobby (Martin Lawrence), and Dudley (William H. Macy), mount their hogs and head for the open road.

The humor lies within the goofy situations the four find themselves in. Granted, most of the setups are completely manufactured, but they still have some laugh out loud comedic value. The staged setups pay off much more than the story at large does. The story has the gaggle locking horns with the Del Fuegos, a genuine biker gang which likes to flex its muscles. They are led by Jack (Ray Liotta), a rather nasty piece of a man who sets the might of his gang against our four heros.

While Jack gets his crew on the road, the Wild Hogs are living it up in Madrid, New Mexico. Dudley gets up the nerve to talk to a woman (Marisa Tomei), and the rest engage in a little bullslap session. Of course, everything leading up to the inevitable showdown has been done before, but is nevertheless fun.

Not surprisingly, nothing about the movie is very new. I think the novelty lies in the combination of the unlikely talents that have been cast. There is nothing about this bunch that really seems to show just why they are friends, but in a way, it feels more genuine. I am sure that you all have friends that come from backgrounds different from your own, drawn together over a single common interest.

Bottom line. I laughed out loud at this movie. The cast seems to be having a good time, in particular Tim Allen, who delivers his best work in a long time. This is a movie where you want to be sure not to analyze the plot and just go along for the ride.


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About Draven99

  • Onewally

    I had looked forward to this movie-the trailer was cute, the idea of middleaged guys setting out on Harleys seemed promising, and the cast was great.

    Ever leave a theater disgusted and thinking, even *I* could write a better movie than that? Actually, I think they just gathered everyone together and threw together everyone’s random thoughts about what to film that day. Key scenes were so hopelessly contrived, silly, and unfunny-I wanted to cover my eyes throughout the bull slapping scene, and again for the ‘big fight’ finale-those alone should have sent this movie straight to video.

    Castwise…Travolta phoned this one in. Tim Allen? eh. Martin Lawrence didnt have much to work with. Ray Liotta had a truly hopeless role-I felt bad for him, doing this garbage. William Macy was the only actor here that made the most of very thin material. It was nice to see Marisa Tomei on the screen again; too bad she didnt have much to work with either.

    No stars for this one.

  • Jim

    I went to see this movie with no expectations whatsoever. I can honestly say that it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time; I literally laughed from almost start to finish. My wife and two young teenaged children came along as well; it was great for the whole family.