Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

Wild Hogs (PG-13)

Directed by: Walt Becker
Starring: Tim Allen
March 2007

“Sits in Idle Waiting for a Story to Show Up”

Something happens to a man when he wakes up one day and realizes his face is starting to show wrinkles, his hair is beginning to turn gray or loose and gravity is doing a number on his belly, transforming the once glamorous six-pack into a keg. It suddenly dawns on him that there are fewer days ahead than behind and that there’s a long list of things he still wants to accomplish in his lifetime. Invariably, one item on the list is a cross-country trip on a Harley.

And so we have
Wild Hogs; a comedy (and I use that word loosely) about four middle-aged men seeking thrills and excitement outside their ordinary lives and dead-end jobs. Doug (Tim Allen), Woody (John Travolta), Dudley (William H. Macy) and Bobby (Martin Lawrence) don motorcycle gear, throw away their cell phones and set off on a journey of self-discovery and male bonding. The road trip starts off rather aimless, but quickly gains focus and immediacy when the four amigos stop off at a bar infested with members of a notorious biker gang known as the Del Fuegos. The balance of the movie focuses on the Wild Hogs’ cowardly attempts at evading the Del Fuegos, but at the appointed time the Hogs develop a collective backbone and stand up to the antagonizing gang, thus satisfying their jones for adventure and fulfilling the story’s promise that the four men will be revitalized as a result of their two-wheel trek.

Wild Hogs was made-to-order for Allen, but Travolta’s participation, and to a greater extent, Macy’s, is a bit of a head-scratcher. The leads are appropriately automatic, if excessively melodramatic, and there are some solid supporting performances turned in by Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei and Peter Fonda. Liotta’s portrayal of the spitting-mad leader of the Del Fuegos is the standout performance in the film, which is pretty sad when you think about it.

Wild Hogs is an abhorrent film with a paper-thin plot and over-the-top performances that squander the talents of the high profile cast. The movie is neither humorous nor insightful and is an egregious waste of time. Written by Brad Copeland, the story consistently defaults to the silly and absurd, which is a shame since the topic of a mid-life crisis could have retained elements of comedy while offering more depth and meaning in the script department.

Anyone who’s frustrated when art films languish while mediocre fluff wins big at the box office will be driven to the brink of insanity by
Wild Hogs. The movie is essentially The Wild One or Easy Rider written by a middle school student.

Rating: 1 1/2