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Wild Hogs This Decade's City Slickers

Published March 1, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Touchstone Pictures.
Wild Hogs Poster Wild Hogs
Well, it's been 15 years since City Slickers so it's about time someone would rip it off and hope nobody notices. If it were aimed at teenagers, it would seem an easy assumption, but considering it's for middle aged suburbanites, didn't they all grow up on Billy Crystal like me?

Movie Review: Wild Hogs


Four weekend warriors decide to go on a real road trip to escape their humdrum lives. Doug (Tim Allen) is a bored dentist whose wife supports him. Woody (John Travolta) is a whiny rich brat who just lost everything. Bobby (Martin Lawrence) wants to write a self help book but his controlling wife makes him go back to janitor work. Dudley (William H. Macy) is a shy computer geek who talks about trying to meet girls but really seems obsessed with his male friends.

Right from the opening, you know this is a total pandering concoction of clichés that market research showed are popular. Just count the ones in the previous paragraph. They use the same music as every other movie. "Gimme Some Lovin'" must be the cheapest song to buy for film. The bouncing Mickey Mouse score reeks of Disney. It's like, "Look how cute all these buffoons are. Laugh at all their pratfalls. Laugh! Laugh, dammit, I command you!" There are three gay characters because third time's the charm.



The characters are two cartoons and two everymen, and they can't have it both ways. It's either everymen in extraordinary situations, or cartoons fumbling up normal things. You can't have Travolta and Macy hamming it up while Allen and Lawrence try to react normally. And if you want us to laugh at what bad bikers they are, don't send 'em through tame biker villains and incompetent hick towns. There's no comedy when everything is silly. That's why South Park always has at least one kid who knows what's ridiculous.

There are a few amusing bits but nothing funny enough to excuse the sloppy jumble of elements. You've got to be a Desperate Housewife to bring something clever to the controlling woman cliché at this point. And all the gay stuff, really, did Disney just discover that it's okay to be gay?

Ultimately, Wild Hogs is exactly what it looks like from the trailer, so in that respect, it's honest. If the stuff in the trailer makes you laugh, so will the movie. If the trailer, neigh the very idea of these four actors in a buddy comedy, sounds awful, then it will be.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Touchstone Pictures.
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