Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: "Wild Hogs" is Funny and Charming

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 53 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Wild Hogs (2007)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and some violence
DIRECTOR: Walt Becker
WRITER: Brad Copeland
PRODUCERS: Brian Robbins & Michael Tollin and Todd Lieberman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robbie Greenberg (director of photography)
EDITOR: Christopher Greenbury and Stuart Pappé


Starring: Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Durand, M.C. Gainey, Jill Hennessy, Dominic Janes, Tichina Arnold, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jason Sklar and Randy Sklar

In the comedy, Wild Hogs, four middle-aged friends decide to take a cross-country road trip on their motorcycles. It’s the buddy comedy times four, and although it might be mediocre compared to an Oscar wannabe, Wild Hogs delivers laughs every time just like reliable fast food and a cold Coke.

Doug Madsen (Tim Allen), Woody Stevens (John Travolta), Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence), and Dudley Frank (William H. Macy) are the “Wild Hogs,” weekend motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy riding their bikes to a local biker bar where they drink beers. This mismatched foursome is beset by stressful jobs and family obligations, so Woody talks them into hitting the open road for adventure. The trip starts off rough, but in spite of some misadventures, they’re having fun.

However, these biker wannabes get more than they bargained for when they encounter the real-life biker gang the Del Fuegos. Their leader, Jack (Ray Liotta), doesn’t like the Wild Hogs, viewing them as posers. The Wild Hogs-Del Fuegos feud escalates into a showdown in the small desert town of Madrid, where the shy Dudley has finally found a girlfriend in Maggie (Marisa Tomei), owner of the local bar and grill.

What’s the point of a long review when talking about a movie like Wild Hogs? This isn’t film art. Still, I liked it… a lot, and it was funny. I’m a big fan of Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence’s movies, and when they have halfway decent material and if they’re on, they’re funny, which they were here. Allen is off his game here and still funny, but Lawrence is more on his game and makes sure Bobby Davis doesn’t come across as a mere token. William H. Macy, the best actor of the quartet, really sells his lovable nerd character, making him blissfully naïve and as thick as a brick wall, but giving him surprising moments of spontaneity and edge. John Travolta is pudgy and slow, but he fits in with the rest in an odd sort of way.

The women in this movie seem dehydrated and tired, except for Tichina Arnold who can turn on the black woman sass in an instant. Ray Liotta is intense as all get out, so much so one would think he thought this was a crime thriller and not PG-13, Hollywood mass audience product. Still, his edgy, hard-ass, bad guy act provides a nice balance to the star quartet’s goofiness.

No, Wild Hogs isn’t great, but a generous helping of coarse humor, sexual innuendo, a couple scenes of bare white ass, poop jokes, physical comedy, stereotypes, and plenty of visual gags make this movie funny on demand. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

7 of 10

Sunday, March 25, 2007

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