Written by Musgo Del Jefe
The mid-life crisis has come a long way. In 1991, Billy Crystal (43), Bruno Kirby (42) and Daniel Stern (34) set out on a cattle-driving adventure in City Slickers. In a memorable opening, we quickly set the mid-life problems and malaise of the characters before moving to the Western sets. After a few comic sets dealing with these city men out of their element, we settle in for the "lesson." Our city slickers lead the cattle back to the ranch. Through these tribulations, each character learns to find the passion for things in life that really matter and return home changed men.
In 2007, the mid-life crisis is a little older. Doug (Tim Allen - 55) is a bored dentist, Woody (John Travolta - 54) is generic formerly rich/now divorcing businessman, Bobby (Martin Lawrence - 43) is a wife-nagged, would-be writer/plumber, and Dudley (William H. Macy - 58) is generic computer guy who can't get a girlfriend. We get this all in brief intros to each character that covers the first ten minutes of the movie. No explanation of the history of their relationships or how they even know each other except that we see them riding together. They claim to be from Cincinnati, but the scenes could place this in any mid-sized city east of the Mississippi.
The first thing you notice is that Harley must have stipulated that every time the group takes off on their Hogs, a classic rock song must be playing. All the expected cuts are here - "Slow Ride," "Highway To Hell," and "Who Do Ya Love" among at least eight such scenes I counted. I will say that the film didn't turn into the 100-minute commercial for Harley that I feared I was in store for.
Twenty minutes in, we've established nothing other than the boys have decided for no real specific reason to go on their road trip to see the Pacific Ocean. Only Woody seems to have a reason to leave town (escaping his impending divorce), the others are a little more dubious including a trumped-up "stress induced panic attack" for Doug. The others seem to just be along for the ride.
Speaking of being along for the ride, this seems to be a good point to mention how out of place that Martin Lawrence looks and feels in this film. He's over ten years younger than the rest of the Hogs and his humor is really nothing along the lines of what the others have done. It ends up singling him out to such an extent that he feels like "token African-American" in the script. Someone closer to their age like Denzel Washington (53) could've filled the role without calling attention to it.