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Wild Hogs

Wild Hogs is basically City Slickers meets Easy Rider--just a whole lot sillier without any sociological angst.


The movie tagline sort of sums it up: ''Four guys from the suburbs hit the road...and the road hits back.'' The four middle-aged friends, who like to jump on their motorcylces and go riding around once a week, are: Doug (Tim Allen), a dentist embarrassed by his job; Bobby (Martin Lawrence), a henpecked husband who wants to break away from being a plumber; Dudley (William H. Macy), a mild-mannered computer programmer and resident geek; and finally, Woody (John Travolta), an entrepreneur with seemingly the most going for him. In actuality, Woody is about to hit rock bottom but rather than be honest with his friends, he convinces them all to hit the open road with him--to feel the wind in their hair, so to speak. And as they go looking for adventure, they soon find that they've embarked on a journey they will never forget. Uh-huh.


Who would have thought these four actors would make a movie together? Casting Wild Hogs looked like the best part about making the movie, as the producers probably sat around, coming up with different variations (wonder who else they considered--Tom Hanks? Steve Carell?) Comedy veterans Allen and Lawrence have fun riffing on one another, doing their shtick here and there, while Travolta (the only real biker of the bunch) and Macy easily keep up with the antics. For the most part, these guys click, but I'm sure everyone did this purely for the money—and the Harleys. Ray Liotta gets to play the menacing villain once again as the leader of a motorcycle gang who has it out for our hapless quartet. Of course, this time Liotta plays it for laughs and does a nice job with it. Even Marisa Tomei makes an appearance as a small town denizen who falls for Macy's Dudley, as the boys end up defending the town from Liotta and his thugs, Magnificent Seven-style.


You can see every plot point coming a mile away, plus a few director Walt Becker probably didn't even know were in there. But honestly, from the guy who directed Van Wilder, what did you expect? Becker is handy with a camera and totally knows where the film's bread is buttered, focusing all his energy and attention on his four stars. Unfortunately, in doing so, Wild Hogs mostly misses out on the poignancy of, say, a City Slickers, even though it tries real hard to get us to connect with these middle-aged men trying to recapture youth--or whatever. But listen, this isn't supposed to change the world; Wild Hogs is just pure, dumb fun about a group of guys wearing leather and riding hogs. Period.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.