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"Wild Hogs"

Directed by Walt Becker.
Written by Brad Copeland.
Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  3/17/07


Maybe I'm just ashamed to admit it, but not only did I laugh during the trailer of "Wild Hogs" when I first saw it a few months ago, but when I actually saw the movie this morning, I laughed hard a few times during the movie, too.  And overall, it's the chemistry of the four big stars of the movie that make it work.

Four middle-aged guys are feeling the burn of having shitty, boring lives and decide to take a road trip on their motorcycles from Cincinnati to the West Coast.  There's Bobby (Martin Lawrence), who doesn't wear the pants in his family but does get to wear the shit as a plumbing specialist in a household where he often serves as the doormat; Dudley (William H. Macy) is a computer programmer who couldn't talk to the ladies to save his life; Woody (John Travolta) is recently separated from his supermodel wife and is apparently bankrupt; and Doug (Tim Allen) is that boring guy you know...a dentist--NOT a doctor--who has a loving wife and a child who thinks his dad is a complete and total loser.  The foursome takes to the road to find adventure, gay cops (like John C. McGinley, longtime character actor from "Scrubs"), a tough biker gang led by an asshole (Ray Liotta), and a chili festival in Madrid, New Mexico.

Even as I go through it in my mind, I am having a hard time figuring out why I liked "Wild Hogs", but maybe it's best to say this--I got the feeling that the four leads had a good time hamming it up in a sophomoric road comedy, and that chemistry works well as the four guys hang out on screen.  Macy is the funniest of the lot; his clumsy Apple-tattoo-sporting loser has a great mix of physical comedy waiting around every corner, but some of his dialogue is pretty funny, too.  I normally don't like Tim Allen on the big screen; of course, he makes that easy by doing movies like "The Santa Clause 3", but he takes a bit of a cue from his TV comedy days and then flips his over-the-top manliness from "Home Improvement" to become a modern-day softy who has lost his way.  I'm not saying the acting is great, but I am saying that the performance given the character as drawn up is perfect.  Lawrence and Travolta have played their respective characters before and don't go out of their way to take up any more of their share of the screen; strangely, all four of the parts are pretty equal and don't allow for anyone's ego to stretch the role outside the lines.

Yeah, some of the comedy is lowball; yeah, the persistent homophobia was strangely annoying to me, even if it made sense to address it in a modern comedy (four men can't really do anything any more--in the movies or not--without someone pondering "Hey, are those dudes gay?").  Liotta does his best to play the bad guy by constantly yelling at everyone; this is funny, but not crazy funny.  Personally, I love the idea of a road trip because I love real road trips and traveling so much, so that part of the story--take a week off and see something, for cryin' out loud!--was great.  The last ten minutes before the credits roll don't work so well, and it becomes a little preachy, but the idea to do an "Extreme Makeover" bit over the credits was quite funny.

Overall, "Wild Hogs" inched over the line for me into good territory; not the strongest $9.50 in the world, but still, pretty funny stuff.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09