Wild Hogs is a true insult of a movie – it is both a predictable, empty-headed buddy comedy and a radically shoddy example of Hollywood filmmaking. Truth be told, despite the conspicuous absence of even a semblance of intelligent humor, this unfunny comedy will undoubtedly appeal to a large audience. Sad but hardly surprising.
The premise of Wild Hogs is anything but wild: Four middle-aged suburban bikers going through various midlife crises decide to embark on an adventurous road trip across the “free country.”
Tim Allen plays Doug, an insecure dentist who fails to connect with his son; Martin Lawrence is Bobby, a plumber who quit his job to write a book he will never finish; William H. Macy is Dudley, a computer geek afraid of women; and John Travolta is Woody, a crabby investor who has lost both his wife and his money. They are the wild hogs, a group of wannabe bikers in search of their self-confidence.
The movie follows the four friends on their bumpy trip from Cincinnati to the Pacific Coast. Along the way, the quartet clash with a Hell’s Angels-ish motorcycle gang led by menacing Ray Liotta. Throughout the seemingly endless ride, the audience must swallow all the ingredients of an unusually dreadful slapstick comedy. Those include repetitive action, puerile humor, and top actors delivering amateurish performances.
Travolta, Allen, Lawrence, and Macy sure had a blast shooting this drag, but they didn’t bother to pass on their joie de vivre to the audience. Only Macy provides a few enjoyable moments, mostly involving the charming Marisa Tomei as his love interest.
Brad Copeland, whose writing credits include some episodes of the television shows My Name is Earl and Arrested Development, is to be held responsible for the monotonous and offensive screenplay. The basic premise of having four bikers rediscover themselves and learn to face their fears is nothing but a cheap pretense for a slow-moving parade of infantile pursuits and brawls.
Director Walt Becker, whose previous teen-comedy Van Wilder was slammed by critics, continually tries to get laughs via homophobic gags and goofy squabbles, but he does so in vain. The humor falls flat, provoking disgust rather than delight.
Unless you think that watching the hogs spooning on a mattress or urinating on the side of the street is oh-so-totally hilarious, you’ll find Wild Hogs a painful experience. Ultimately, this road movie is nothing more than a waste of time and money that will revolt any filmgoer with even a modicum of appreciation for the art of filmmaking.
© Franck Tabouring