Thursday, April 19, 2007

WILD HOGS: Laugh and Cringe Comedy

WILD HOGS (comedy)
Cast: John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei
Director: Walt Becker
Time: 95 mins
Rating: * * ½

The Wild Hogs
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? There are good news and bad news to this "City Slickers"-on-Harleys comedy. First, the bad news: the plot is geriatric and derivative, and seems to verge on the ridiculous at every twist and turn.
The good news is that there are many laughs to be had, watching the A-list cast hamming it up like their lives depended on it. So if you lower your standards a bit, you may even find some fun in this comedy about four over-the-hill guys going on a road trip as a treatment for their mid-life crises.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Doug (Tim Allen) is a dentist who finds a huge cavity in his ego: he is so dull his son would rather play ball with someone else’s dad. Woody (John Travolta) is a hotshot deal-maker who has just lost his wife and business. Bobby (Martin Lawrence) is a plumber who is trying to fix a leak in his dream by trying to write a book, and Dudley (William H. Macy) is a computer nerd who has problems relating to people, especially women.
In short, these suburban guys are facing mid-life crises. The solution, as suggested by Woody, is to leave all their frustrations and disappointments behind and go on a road-trip from Cincinnati to the Pacific coast – on their beloved motorbikes. Imagine, one week of pure freedom, minus the missus and even their cell phones!

HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS: From here on, the "City Slickers" schtick applies. The ‘Wild Hogs’ burn down their tent, get mistaken for gays (by a highway cop played by John C. McGinley), and run foul of a real Hell’s Angels gang called the Del Fuegos, led by a mean dude named Jack (Ray Liotta). On the bright side, one of them falls in love (with the small town diner-owner played by Marisa Tomei) and they even get to play ‘slap the bull’ with a real bull!
Yes, there are plenty of cricks and cracks in this uneven comedy and some of them may even make you cringe. Like watching the flabby four taking a skinny-dip bath in the park; like watching Travolta at one of his worst performances of his life, and Liotta trying to do a foaming-at-the-mouth routine. On the other hand, Macy is a gem here and he gets most of the laughs, including the girl.
Director Walt Becker, who of "Van Wilder" fame, tries to compensate for the amateurish script by providing some surprise cameos. Look out for Kyle Gass doing a Pussycat Dolls number, and a certain ‘Mephistopheles’ from "Death Rider" doing his turn as a town saviour.

THE LOWDOWN: Yup, I laughed a bit and cringed a lot at the antics of these Wild Hogs. If you plan on riding with ’em, please leave your brain at the cineplex’s door.


Post a Comment

<< Home