(2007)2Craig ButlerThere is no sane reason that such a low-brow, scattershot affair as Wild Hogs (2007) should possibly succeed as a comedy. The script is not even certain which character is the protagonist; in act one, it seems to be Tim Allen's Doug, in act two John Travolta's Woody takes over, and in act three the romance between William H. Macy's Dudley and Marisa Tomei's Maggie takes center stage. Only Martin Lawrence as token black pal Bobby is clearly relegated to B-list status. By giving equal time to almost every member of its ensemble cast, the film underutilizes each of them in turn and never fully explores any one of their characters, thus rendering dramatically slack their third-act transformations into better men. Ray Liotta, in the meantime, seems slightly embarrassed by his participation in this cluttered, potty-minded production, although he receives able supporting work from M.C. Gainey and Kevin Durand, a standup comic who, along with Macy, does the best work in the film.
The humor is pratfall-heavy and rife with gay panic that borders on offensive until it crosses that border and leaves it far, far behind. And for a film about a quartet of buddies coping with their midlife crises by embarking on a cross-country biker quest, the trip seems geographically truncated by its lengthy detour in the second half into the sort of small-town Nirvana only glimpsed in movies and television shows. Yet, despite all of its obvious and manifold flaws, Wild Hogs is the one thing it really needs to be: funny. The jokes work, dumb as they are, and while to call the story "mild" is an understatement, director Walt Becker clearly understands the thinness of the material he's working with here and maintains a steady, self-mocking tone and nimble pace that serve the picture well, while wringing some real energy and engagement from his sprawling cast. Wild Hogs was a sizeable box-office hit, despite a raft of negative reviews, perhaps largely due to the fact that it was exactly the type of movie it seemed to be in its marketing campaign: dumb, likeable, and amusing. Its success is a potent reminder that audiences will forgive much if delivered a sturdy product that delivers the goods it promises.
A mismatched group of bored suburbanites longing to escape the stress of their daily lives and embrace the freedom of the open road finds that it takes more than polished chrome and leather jackets to truly experience the biker lifestyle in this revved-up road comedy starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy. Upon trading the comfort of their couches for the thunderous rumble of two-wheeled street machines, these four adventurous riders cross paths with the notorious Del Fuegos -- an authentic biker gang that doesn't take kindly to the weekend warrior type.