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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