I’m a sucker for any movie with John Travolta in it. He doesn’t even have to be particularly good in the film, although he is often outstanding. I particularly like Travolta in comedies. He can be amazingly funny when he sets his mind to it. I’m also a fan of Tim Allen. I’ve loved him since the days of “Tool Time.” He, too, is simply delightful to watch on any screen, small or big.
Put Travolta and Allen together in a movie and I’m in film heaven. Add in the incomparable William Macy and I’m in for the count. So obviously, when the movie “Wild Hogs” hit the video shelves yesterday, I was one of the first in line to rent it.
While there is no denying that “Wild Hogs” is just frivolous fun; not a cinematic masterpiece, I see nothing wrong with a film that simply wants to make you laugh. Laugh I did, often and loud. It was just what the doctor ordered.
“Wild Hogs” is about four middle-aged men that don’t realize they are in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Doug Madesen (played by Allen) is a bored dentist who is tired of watching his cholesterol and keeping up his humdrum pace. Woody Stevens (played by Travolta) is a former big wig whose swimsuit model wife has just left him. On top of that, he finds out that he is flat broke.
Bobby David (played by Martin Lawrence) is an aspiring writer who also works as a plumber in order to keep his wife off his back. Rounding out the foursome is Dudley Frank (played by William Macy), a computer nerd who has always been unlucky in love.
Woody decides it is time for the foursome to take a real trip on their motorcycles; cross-country from Ohio to L.A. At first the other Hogs don’t want to go but eventually decide to take the plunge. The group takes off without a map and with no particular plans. They don’t take cells phones and carry very little in the way of equipment.
As might be expected, the Hogs run into all kinds of problems along the trip. One of the most hilarious scenes is when they decide to go skinny-dipping in a pond, just as a family of four decides they want to take a swim as well.
When the group hits New Mexico, they really get themselves into hot water. They decide to stop at a biker bar for something cool to drink. However, the lifetime bikers – – called the Del Fuegos – – aren’t at all happy that the “posers” as they call them, dare to frequent their establishment. They take Dudley’s bike, forcing him to ride a sidecar with Woody.
Woody, however, decides to take matters into his hands and get Dudley’s bike back. I’m not going to spoil the fun by telling you exactly what happens then, but suffice it to say, Woody causes more problems than he really solves; putting the Del Fuegos hot on the tail of the Hogs.
During a stop over in a small town called Madrid, Dudley finally finds true love in the form of Maggie, owner of the local restaurant. The rest of the guys have breakthroughs as well; recovering some of their old spirit. The townsfolk embrace the foursome and see them as their potential saviors when the Del Fuegos come to town.
I wasn’t that familiar with Martin Lawrence until this film. He’s so funny! I can’t imagine how I managed to miss out on his work before. Together, Lawrence, Macy, Allen, and Travolta have a real blast that transfers through the screen to envelop the audience. It’s just a whole lot of fun.
Marisa Tormei plays Maggie and reminds everyone just how sweet and charming she can be. Jill Hennessey plays the role of Allen’s wife and demonstrates a pretty good sense of comedic timing. Ray Liotta plays the head of the Del Fuegos. Scary isn’t a new role for him, but funny and scary at the same time, was a revelation.
There were a couple of other cameos that I won’t spoil for you. Let me just say that this isn’t a film you want to stop watching until the credits are finished. If you, you’ll miss out on something special.
Walt Becker directed the film. As Gary Marshall says, “if there is one funny actor in the film, it is probably just because the actor is funny but everyone in the film is funny, then it is probably the work of the director.” If there is any truth to that, then props must be given to Becker because he got some great performances out of his entire cast.
I do have one bone of contention to pick, however, with the makeup artist. This is the first film I’ve seen in quite awhile where the makeup was too obvious. There are several scenes where the yellow color corrector used to disguise undereye circles and red spots are way too obvious. The makeup person simply didn’t do his or her job in blending it with the foundation. That makes the actors look really bad in good camera lighting.
Overall, this is a fun movie, well worth the rental. I give it three and one-half out of four stars. I deducted one full star for the horrible makeup alone. It was just plain disgraceful!