Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wild Hogs

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM

It's time something is done about Tim Allen. Look, it's all well and good for Mr. Tool Time to continue describing lazy circles around the rim of Hollywood's toilet bowl, flushing one bad "family" comedy after another down the shitter. He's a big boy, he can go on making Zoom and Santa sequels to his accountant's content, just as long as he doesn't drag other, better actors down with him. Especially William H. Macy, a warmly respected actor who, aside from a few errant cartoon voiceovers, has largely avoided such witless multiplex-pandering crap as this. He should know better. The same can't be said for John Travolta, whose decade-long post-Pulp Fiction get-out-of-jail-free card has expired, landing him right back in the career clink from whence he came. Of course, this turkey will just be a blip in the sorry filmography of Martin Lawrence, a mere pit stop between a string of horrid cross-dressing, fat-suit stink bombs. It might be unfair to lay blame on Allen, as there's plenty of blame for all concerned, but this hurtfully bland exercise in banality is pretty much in his wheelhouse, and he seems to set the lethargic tone for everybody else to foolishly follow.

Tradition dictates a plot summary, no matter how perfunctory; so suffice it to say Wild Hogs involves a group of aging suburban Cincinnati buddies taking a male-bonding road trip west, where hilarity, high jinks and life lessons ensue. It essentially amounts to a flavorless reworking of City Slickers.

The flick is so cookie-cutter bland and midlife crisis tired that it defies discussion — you've seen guys getting hit in the nuts before, and you've seen it done better. Hell, you've done it better. There are gay jokes, black jokes, poop jokes and fart jokes, and a lot of puffing and preening about fading masculinity, to which Allen eats a raw stick of butter to show he's still got a pair.

Two other slumming award-winners offer brief glimmers of hope: Ray Liotta as the malevolent leader of a real biker gang and Marisa Tomei as an arty café owner who inexplicably falls for Macy's hapless computer nerd. Even they can't breathe life into a DOA script, directed by Walt Becker with the grim efficiency of a night manager stocking shelves at Costco.

Wild Hogs' utter wretchedness is as unavoidable as its likely profitability, and the very thought of the sort of person who'd enjoy this sludge is scarier than a pack of rabid Hell's Angels.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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