“Wild Hogs”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
Theatrical Release: March 2, 2007

A coming-of-age story starring a bunch of fiftysomething stars rather than teenage actors, Wild Hogs is a well-intentioned comedy starring John Travolta (Woody), Tim Allen (Doug), Martin Lawrence (Bobby), and William H. Macy (Dudley) as a group of Midwesterners facing their own versions of mid-life crises.

They decide to escape their frazzled personal lives and rejuvenate themselves by taking a road trip on their slick hogs. But their journey is less Easy Rider than it is Three Amigos (plus one).

As individual actors, each lead is a formidable star. But throw them all together into one crammed screenplay full of scatological humor and uncomfortable homosexual gags and it doesn’t quite work. The actors spend so much time trying to outdo each other on screen that they aren’t believable as friends, much less comrades.

Walt Becker (National Lampoon’s Van Wilder) offers minimal direction on a film that could’ve used some reining in, especially during scenes between Macy and Marisa Tomei (as a diner owner who inexplicably falls for him).

There are promises of some interesting vignettes when Ray Liotta shows up as Jack, the leader of a real motorcycle gang. When Jack threatens to break Dudley’s legs, Dudley counters, “I’m a computer programmer! I don’t need my legs.” Without missing a beat, Jack says, “Fine, we’ll break his hands.” It’s not that the lines are so funny, but they way Liotta delivers them that adds some life to this flailing comedy. Unfortunately, his scenes with the rest of the cast are all too few.

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