When Wild Hogs came out in theaters, I vowed to stay as far away as possible from the motorcycle comedy, but low and behold, the movie is now coming to DVD and I have a review copy sitting right here before me. The quote on the DVD cover calls the movie "the comedy event of the year," which is about as much of an overstatement as one can make (certainly since the review was probably written in February when few other comedies had been released as of yet), but Wild Hogs is a surprisingly entertaining movie.
Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy star as four men trying to resurrect their careers (okay, Macy is doing just fine without a paycheck film such as this). All four men are suffering from midlife crises, and thus they take their frustrations out by crossing the country on their "hogs". Travolta plays a seemingly successful man who has in reality lost everything; Lawrence a father and husband who isn't respected by his family; Allen a dentist who everyone thinks is a joke; and Macy a computer nerd who has real trouble talking to women, especially ones who look like Marisa Tomei. Ray Liotta plays a "true" biker who sets out to destroy the Wild Hogs after the four men accidentally blow up his gang's tavern.
As you might have caught on, I wasn't expecting much out of the film, but it is surprisingly sharp in a few parts. I thought it was a going to be a PG-rated film, but it definitely has some PG-13 jokes that work quite well. Clearly, these four actors showed up to work to get paid and not to deliver an artistic wonder, but they all seem to be having fun and that translates to entertainment for the audience. I have never found Lawrence to be all that funny and probably never will, but Travolta, Allen and Macy are all quite good. This is actually a pretty good movie for Allen, as he gets to combine some of his old "Home Improvement" humor and themes (being a man's man) with some of his racier humor, even though he's still quite watered down.
Wild Hogs does play out like a family film for the most part, despite a few crude or adult jokes, so any parents who aren't so conservative that they try to protect their children from every swear word and bad joke may find this an almost-appropriate film for older kids. The plot is pretty simple and basic and full of gags, but even when the film is silly (which it is most of the time) it works on a rudimentary level.
All that being said, Wild Hogs could have easily been smarter and edgier. Compared to other comedies of the year such as Knocked Up and The Simpsons Movie, it certainly isn't great, but it works on its own. The movie was a surprise success in theaters and should do quite well on DVD, as it has just enough laughs to keep you entertained. Recommended as a rental, especially to those who like to see Allen playing something other than Santa Claus.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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