Cast: Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, Jill Hennessy, Ray Liotta
Director: Walt Becker
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
You discover over time that different people have different ideas of what makes a successful movie. Some will say a good script, others a good director, and then, there are those people who think that all you need a great cast and it can whip any movie into shape no matter how bad. However, this approach takes a bit of a misfire with the comedy Wild Hogs, now available on DVD.
Doug Madsen (Tim Allen), Woody Stevens (John Travolta), Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence), and Dudley Frank (William H. Macy) are four longtime friends. They each have settled into middle-age with dead-end lives and weekend escapades on motorcycles under the identity of the Wild Hogs.
Soon enough, Woody decides to get Doug, Bobby, and Dudley to temporarily leave their domesticated lives behind and go out on the open road out west to the Pacific. However, they soon run into trouble when they encounter a more authentic biker gang the Del Fuegos, led by the hotheaded Jack (Ray Liotta), who forces the gang to trade Dudley's bike for a junk motorcycle.
After some clever retaliation from Woody that results in not only the Del Fuegos' bikes running out of gas, but the explosion of the bar where they operate, the Wild Hogs venture into the small town of Madrid. After standing up to a few of the Del Fuegos who cause trouble in the tow, the Wild Hogs become local heroes and the geeky Dudley acquires a love interest in attractive waitress Maggie (Marisa Tomei). However, a showdown commences when Jack and the Del Fuegos find the Wild Hogs and demand payback.
Despite the presence of a by-and-large first-rate cast, even all their great talent pooled together is unfortunately not enough to mask the many glaring flaws found in Wild Hogs. While Walt Becker's direction manages to bring in a consistently welcome loose, light-hearted, and fun pace, this fails to turn the tide of Brad Copeland's script suffering in almost every way imaginable.
Not only is the script often extremely predictable, but it seems to wallow way too much in comically homoerotic (or homophobic, in some cases) humor that is not so much unfunny as it is painful to watch. There are many moments where the talented cast has fun with the more absurd aspects of the material, which manages to help make the film more enjoyable at times. However, this welcome relief doesn't happen nearly often enough to turn the tide of mediocrity and the great cast ends up being more or less wasted.
The DVD is presented in the 2:35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The DVD also comes packed with plenty of special features.
The first special feature is audio commentary with director Walt Becker and writer Brad Copeland. The
The second is a behind-the-scenes featurette Bikes, Brawls, And Burning Brawls: The Making Of Wild Hogs. It features great behind-the-scenes footage and great interviews with director Walt Becker, stunt coordinator Jack Gill, and the cast members.
The third feature is a briefer featurette How To Get Your Wife To Let You Buy A Motorcycle, which features rather amusing advice from stunt coordinator Jack Gill. Also included, is an alternate ending and two deleted scenes with added commentary by director Walt Becker and Brad Copeland.
Each of them are fairly amusing, despite their extraneousness in their importance in the film. Rounding off the special features are outtakes, which are also often amusing and shows the great time the cast and crew clearly had on this film.
At its best, Wild Hogs has a great cast that has a good enough time with the material to often raise the film's enjoyment factor. However, the combined talents of Allen, John Travolta, and others does not do enough to save the film from what is a highly predictable, immature script that is mired in gender sterotypes.
Movie Grade: D
DVD Features Grade: B+
Overall Grade: C