A group of middle-aged friends (Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy) decide to rev up their routine suburban lives with a freewheeling motorcycle trip, taking a breather from work and family responsibilities. They call themselves Wild Hogs and wear a patch made as a joke by one of the wives. When this mismatched foursome, more used to sitting in the couch than the saddle, set out for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, they get to go camping (bad experience) and play 'slap the bull' in a small country town (another bad experience). They also meet Jack (Ray Liotta) and his 50-strong Del Fuegos, a real-life biker gang, based at a roadside bar, who humiliate them - and then track them down to seek revenge for the act of sabotage that the Wild Hogs dare to perpetrate.
Review by Louise Keller:
With its central theme of male bonding, Wild Hogs is a moderately amusing and entertaining road trip whose likeable cast is its main draw. To be 'wild and free' is the objective of four middle aged mainstream guys, who for one reason or other are stuck in the rut of their ordinary lives. The film consists of a series of formulaic skits depicting their unlikely adventures along the way, and while the main subplot lingers too heavily on an encounter with a tough, tattooed bikie gang, there are a few chuckles and laughs, and its good heart is never in doubt.
They're an unlikely bikie gang, whose black leather jackets and motor bikes are a contradiction to the lives they lead. Tim Allen's Doug is a mild mannered dentist whose life is structured, safe and boring. Crispy fried bacon and butter are replaced by grapefruit and lettuce leaves - all in the name of reducing his cholesterol. Martin Lawrence's Bobby is a henpecked would be writer-cum plumber, whose 'how to' book venture fizzles without any pop. John Travolta's cool businessman Woody with the swim-wear model wife has just lost it all and is wondering about the meaning of life. Finally, William H. Macy's computer geek Dudley is clumsy, verbose and never able to get the girl.
After flinging away the security of their mobile phones, Doug, Bobby, Woody and Dudley set out on the road, ready for adventure. A flaming marshmallow over a camp fire turns into a flaming mess with a splash of kerosene, followed by an encounter with a gay cop while camping on the side of the road. A road stop in a bikie bar leads to a war with a bikie gang led by Ray Liotta, and the Madrid Chile Festival becomes a hide-out for our four friends, where they find spicy cuisine, romance and courage. The pay off comes in the form of Peter Fonda, in an uncredited cameo as a honcho bikie. It's all contrived and pretty lame, but it is harmless escapism and anyone who ever aspired to be 'wild and free' may relate to the basic premise.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A 50cc screenplay trying to be a 500cc comedy, Wild Hogs splutters where it should roar, a lame exercise in the sort of comedy that keeps going for pratfalls to milk a laugh. William H. Macy plays the nerd who keeps falling off his bike and running into obstacles. He also falls in love with Marisa Tomei who runs a diner in the small town of Madrid where the Wild Hogs try to hide from the angry Del Fuegos, who are after them. The Del Fuegos recognise the Wild Hogs as flabby posers, and here is where the screenplay tries to turn subversive and gives Tim Allen (playing a trodden down dentist) a speech calling The Del Fuegos the posers instead.
Martin Lawrence plays the hen pecked husband who works as a toilet cleaner, while John Travolta plays the rich entrepreneur with a supermodel girlfriend. Characters have been distilled from a recipe book and the script throws them at each other without a clue as to why they are friends.
There isn't much we can believe, either amongst the characters or in the story. The four Hogs would never stay friends long enough to last a 99 minute movie, and their patchily written characters are flimsy creations that not even top talent can expand into real people.
The incidents are as manufactured as the characters, and the predictability factor is off the meter. There are a few chuckles, but they never lead to a full throttled laugh.
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WILD HOGS (M)
CAST: Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Durand, M.C. Gainey, Jill Hennessey, Dominic Janes
PRODUCER: Todd Lieberman, Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin
DIRECTOR: Walt Becker
SCRIPT: Brad Copeland
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robbie Greenberg
EDITOR: Ryan Folsey, Christopher Greenbury, Stuart H. Pappe
MUSIC: Teddy Castellucci
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Corenblith
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 8, 2007
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