Review by Paul Stathakis | 2007

Four mid­dle-aged friends decide to embark on a free-wheel­ing motor­cy­cle trip to escape their rou­tine sub­ur­ban lives.  They have stress­ful jobs and fam­i­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties and they long to feel he free­dom of the open road.  What begins as an excit­ing chal­lenge soon turns into a trav­es­ty. Embar­rass­ing moments ensue for the four easy rid­ers.

The main char­ac­ters are played by John Tra­vol­ta, William H. Macy, Tim Allen, and Mar­tin Lawrence.  The film aims for laugh­ter by pre­sent­ing these elder actors as char­ac­ters who want to feel young again by decid­ing on this unusu­al road trip.

There are moments in the movie where one of the char­ac­ters crash­es into a sign due to inat­ten­tive­ness.  His friends laugh at him and the view­er is sup­posed to gig­gle as well only the film is infused with scores of clichés to earn any chuck­les out of a view­er expect­ing a refresh­ing com­e­dy.

The actors seem devot­ed to the project and their efforts to be amus­ing are felt.  But cast in a film that is nei­ther fun­ny they can­not ele­vate the movie to an enjoy­able view­ing lev­el.  One scene shows the four bik­ers camp­ing out in the woods.  One of the char­ac­ters inad­ver­tent­ly sets fire to their tent and it burns down to ash­es.  The fol­low­ing morn­ing, a police offi­cer finds them sleep­ing in the woods side by side.  One of the men com­plains that his jaw has been hurt­ing him all night. Then each of them makes a com­ment which sounds like some­thing else to the offi­cer who is con­vinc­ing­ly fun­ny.  The joke here is indi­rect­ly cen­tered on homo­sex­u­al­i­ty.  How many times have we seen this scene?  What then fol­lows is a scene in which the same police offer catch­es four men decide skin­ny-dip­ping in a small lake. The cop is played by John C. McGin­ley who is bet­ter known as the whacky doc­tor from the TV show “Scrubs.”

Com­e­dy, more than dra­ma, is the most chal­leng­ing genre.  Come­dies must inspire laugh­ter but not only inspire – it much achieve laugh­ter.  Wild Hogs is an exam­ple of a com­e­dy that doesn’t inspire nor achieve a good-natured response from its view­ers.  The entire plot sounds like one big joke (“Four elder guys on motor­cy­cles set off on a road trip…).  To make mat­ter worse, William H. Macy falls in love with the own­er of small din­er (Marisa Tomei) and their romance nev­er feels real.

There are numer­ous cameo appear­ances, the best one being that of Ray Liot­ta who stars as the leader of the Del Fue­gos — a real-life bik­er gang who are amused with the “Wild Hogs.”  Anoth­er appear­ance occurs towards the end of the movie which is fit­ting but also a des­per­ate attempt to obtain a few gig­gles out of the view­er.

Wild Hogs” is a film which will have a suc­cess­ful run at the box office because of the four faces and names on its poster.  But for a film that promis­es thun­der­ous laughs, it is dis­ap­point­ing.  The poster reads, “A lot can hap­pen on the road to nowhere.”  Iron­i­cal­ly, the film goes nowhere and noth­ing spec­tac­u­lar hap­pens.

 

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