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Wild Hogs
It’s dumb as heck, but sure to make some cash
Wild Hogs
Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence Star in "Wild Hogs".
OPENING WEEKEND: $22,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $80,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

December 14th, 2006: Woody (John Travolta), Doug (Tim Allen), Bobby (Martin Lawrence), and Dudley (William H. Macy), are four successful middle-aged suburban men, who find themselves frustrated with the pace of daily life. Their one collective dream has always been to become a group of bikers, and after some hesitation, they all decide to throw caution into the wind and go looking for adventure. All geared up, they hit the road on their Harley Davidsons, sometimes learning the ropes as they go along. The fun soon ends when the foursome stops at a small New Mexico bar and stumbles onto a real motorcycle gang called the Del Fuegos. When Del Fuegos leader Jack (Ray Liotta) decides to have some fun, the four friends must find a way to get out of their predicament.

What to Expect: Although it’s not that rare anymore for Hollywood to put out one derivative movie after another, it’s still a little surprising every time it is this obvious. While the script sounds like something that just about anyone who took Screenplay 101 could put together, writer Brad Copeland’s credits actually include quality television shows like “My Name is Earl” and “Arrested Development.” It sounds more like he was looking to get his foot in the door with Wild Hogs and with Walt Becker at the helm, the material is not likely to just leap off the pages. Becker has been missing in action in the past four years after directing the long-forgotten Jerry O’Connell comedy Buying the Cow and the mediocre Van Wilder, which has since garnered a somewhat impressive cult following on television and DVD. He’s getting a bigger budget and several “heftier” stars for Wild Hogs, but without a proper script, this road trip is never really going to take off.

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I couldn’t say with absolute certainty what brought these stars together for the movie, but there couldn’t have been that many things. For Tim Allen, this is the type of standard project that’s pretty much become expected of him. John Travolta’s career was once very bright, but sadly, his involvement in such projects no longer seems surprising to me. Early word suggests that this is not one of his finest moments either. Knowing that the Big Momma’s House franchise is not likely to last forever, Martin Lawrence is probably just hoping to get a little action while he can still get in on it. He’ll be his usual self in the picture. The odd one out here is Academy Award nominee William H. Macy, who must have truly gotten bored of the usual Oscar caliber films to want to add this to his credits. Supposedly, his performance is the best of the four actors in this movie, but nowhere near good enough to save the project. The outstanding Ray Liotta plays the film’s villain and I forgive him because an actor of his caliber can somehow still save face after playing a bad guy in this sort of movie. It’s as if he is on our side, rebelling against the idiotic story. In a movie like this, you hope to be the villain. His character and about a dozen of his posse are going to chase and scare the heroes throughout the flick. Academy Award winning actress Marisa Tomei is underutilized in the movie, as she only gets to recite a few lines and appears mostly to serve the purpose of a blatant sex object. A far more interesting cameo, however, should be from Peter Fonda, who is probably known best for his breakthrough role in the classic motorcycle flick, Easy Rider.

It seems that the production caused more than just one newsworthy disruption. One shooting location was the quirky, tourist-friendly town of Madrid, New Mexico, where daily life and business in particular were greatly affected by the shoot. To be fair, the filmmakers did give back to the community by assisting with some renovations. At another point, filming a scene where Travolta’s character tricks the motorcycle gang to set the bar on fire caused some similar controversy. The shooting took place in Santa Fe where open fires have been banned, but somehow the producers have been able to obtain the necessary permit. Most embarrassing of all is the lawsuit that Disney had on their hands. The original Wild Hogs script featured the real-life Hell’s Angels as the motorcycle gang, but the Angels sued Disney for infringing on their trademark. Of course, Disney eventually backed down and decided to change the name of the gang to the Del Fuegos.

According to Tim Allen, Wild Hogs is going to be a big, broad adult comedy sort of in the Wedding Crashers vein. Indeed, the trailer actually had me chuckling a little bit during the first two opening bits, but things went south very quickly after the first scene that featured a blow to a man’s crotch. Isn’t there enough crotch-crushing in comedies already that we could have one without any of that? Unsurprisingly, test screenings for Wild Hogs have been absolutely appalling. The humor is decidedly offensive and frequently racist, with homosexual jokes running rampant as if though the writers were not keen on anything else. Despite the juvenile delinquency of the story, the characters, and the comedy, it should be noted that this film is not for kids. This is basically a retread of old and tired Hollywood clichés – a City Slickers with Harley’s replacing horses, targeted at a middle-aged male audience hoping to live vicariously through the characters’ corny mid-life crises.

In Conclusion: Any movie that revolves around a premise as simplistic as this is destined to commit many atrocities. When it is all about a few “average Joes” just trying to have some fun, you know that the story will serve only as a set up for one lame gag after another. Worst of all, a dead-end project like this sends a message that all of the actors involved have their best stuff behind them and nothing better to chose from. It is as if they have given up on taking any risks or challenges and have settled for humorless drivel that pokes fun at their age and portrays them as somewhat incompetent. At least in Macy’s case, that should not be true yet. With any luck, this movie will be tolerable enough to sit through and chuckle, even if at something unintentionally funny. Since movies like “Big Momma’s House” and its sequel have proven that audiences love dumb, I wouldn’t worry too much about ticket sales.

Similar Titles: City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold, R.V., Joe Somebody
March 2nd, 2007 (wide)
August 14th, 2007 (DVD)

Touchstone Pictures

Walt Becker

John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Tichina Arnold, Jill Hennessy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, John C. McGinley, Michael Hitchcock, Jason Sklar, Randy Sklar

Total: 118 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Comedy

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and some violence

99 min





Wild Hogs at RottenTomatoes.com

Wild Hogs at AskMen.com

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