Wild Hogs DVD Review
by Kam Williams
Buddy Flick Features Couch Potatoes-Turned-Road Warriors
Who would ever think that a road flick about a quartet of middle-aged men crossing the country on motorcycles as a way of dealing with their midlife crises would be a $100+ million hit? But that's what we have in Wild Hogs which benefited immeasurably from a big-name cast.
Unfortunately, just because this buddy flick was a box office bonanza doesn't necessarily mean it's still a worthwhile rental. Like a poor man's answer to Ocean's Thirteen, this lame indulgence in male-bonding opportunities doesn't have much going for it beyond the name recognition of its stars.
At the point of departure, we find our heroes in suburban Cincinnati leading lives of quiet desperation. Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence) is an unemployed sewer cleaner/unpublished aspiring novelist and married to a shrewish sister (Tichina Arnold) who won't let him forget that, as breadwinner, she wears the pants in the family. Meanwhile, bachelor Dudley Frank (William H. Macy) is a never-been-kissed, computer nerd who needs to summon up the nerve to approach a female.
Dentist Doug Madsen (Tim Allen) is misunderstood by his teenage son (Dominic Janes), and rounding out the posse is Woody Stevens (John Travolta), a bankrupt millionaire who has just been abandoned by his wife. All that the four have in common is a general malaise and a passion for motorcycles.
So, leaving behind a host of career and relationship woes, the boys hop on their hogs and head West in quest of excitement and lost youth. But based on how they proceed to behave, it seems that all they've been missing out on is the sort if formulaic slapstick and sophomoric behavior one might find in a typical teensploit, such as pratfalls, preening, potty humor, skinny dipping, ogling women, boozing it up, and participating in gay panic homophobia.
The plot thickens after a scary encounter with a real motorcycle gang in New Mexico, and on the way to the Pacific coast, each of our weekend warriors learns a valuable lesson which will serve them well upon their return home to Ohio. But, regrettably, this isn't a movie with any meaningful insights to share about the heartfelt concerns of the over-forty set, but is rather an ill-conceived, "coming-of-age" style misadventure which could just as easily have revolved around some recent high school grads.
Thus, despite the presence of a stellar supporting cast which includes Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, Peter Fonda, John C. McGinley, Steve Landesberg and John Travolta's siblings, Sam and Margaret, there's no reason to go hog wild over Wild Hogs.
Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for crude humor, violence, and some sexual content.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, alternate ending, commentary by director and scriptwriter, "The Making of" plus another featurette.
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