Wild Hogs (2007) – By Jonathon Pernisek

 You can tell a lot about someone who owns a copy of Wild Hogs as part of their movie collection. You can make inferences about their intelligence, muster a guess regarding their style of humor, and even venture an assumption as to the occupation they hold. You can, but you’d be best to leave their house immediately, for spending time with them may lead to irreversible brain damage. So please, for your own sake, get into your car and burn rubber, even before I explain why this movie is so epic in its ineptitude. Just heed the warning, for Christ’s sake!

Okay, with the soap box neatly put away, let’s tear this sucker apart. Make no mistake, Wild Hogs was a blockbuster, grossing nearly $170 million during its initial run in theaters. Not an easy figure to sniff at, especially if you’re a Hollywood mogul looking for a new franchise. For those of us who actually care about quality filmmaking, however, this pile of dough only confirms we’ll be seeing more of the same in the future. So thank you, middle-of-the-road America, for your love of clichéd jokes and hack celebrities turning in mediocre performances. Truly you are the barometer we need for deciding what gets made in American cinema.

The script for this film is standard sitcom tripe, based on the tiresome premise that, go figure, men go through mid-life crises. Shocking, no? So what do John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen and William H. Macy do when it looks like their lives are slowing to a boring crawl? They decide to take their love for motorcycling on the road, setting out on an adventurous trip they hope will connect them back to their youth. But will these “wild hogs” truly be able to recreate their past, or will they wind up learning that the future can be just as savory? Screw you if you don’t know the answer.

I apologize for the randomly toxic attitude, but this “comedy” provides absolutely no laughs whatsoever. Half the jokes revolve around the quartet of actors running into various animals or objects, and every time I had to watch Macy be thrown to the ground it made me wince for the state of his career. Frankly he’s the only one worth plucking out of the film for saving, since I could care less about the rest of these flabby has-beens. Tim Allen hasn’t been entertaining since Toy Story 2, Lawrence has already punished the world with his pair of Big Momma titles, and Travolta has become so oddly intense and creepy with each of his performances it’s hard to tell if he’s human anymore. The draw of their names may have been what drew audiences in to see this film, but they don’t even try to lift the dead weight material given to them.

Beyond the total lack of comedy, which is unfortunate if not condemnable, there is an unrestrained sense of homophobia running rampant throughout this entire movie. This is represented by the sheer number of times our hogs wake up next to each other, snuggling like kittens, only to wake up and immediately freak out over the idea of men being intimate. Ew, yuck! Then there’s the Highway Patrolman as played by John C McGinley of Scrubs, an honest-to-God disturbing character who seems to stalk the leads and is constantly trying to force them into an orgy. I wanted to spit poison every time he appeared on camera, smiling like a deranged idiot and making gay men look like nothing more than pathetic, oversexed fools who can’t take ‘no’ for an answer. McGinley should be ashamed of himself, pure and simple.

Does Wild Hogs have anything worthwhile to offer? No. Absolutely not. The script is leaden and morally bankrupt, the actors appear tired and hungry for pay day, and the bonus sequence playing over the credits actually involves Ty Pennington playing himself. No one needs to see this overly-tanned, self-righteous doof on their television screens, so I’ll use that fact to nail this coffin shut. With any luck, the inevitable Wild Hogs 2 will die a deserved death at the box-office, but even if it does succeed, you can be sure I won’t be checking to see if it’s any worse than this trash heap.