Strange Wilderness


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Rating: R

Steve Zahn as Peter Gaulke
Allen Covert as Fred Wolf
Jonah Hill as Cooker
Kevin Heffernan as Whitaker
Ashley Scott as Cheryl
Peter Dante as Danny Guiterrez
Harry Hamlin as Sky Pierson
Robert Patrick as Gus Hayden
Joe Don Baker as Bill Calhoun
Blake Clark as Dick
Justin Long as Junior
Jeff Garlin as Ed Lawson
Ernest Borgnine as Milas

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Cooker’s Song
The Turkey
What Do We Do?
Reel Comedy: Strange Wilderness

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 84 Minutes

The following is from the DVD description:

“It’s survival of the witless.

From Happy Madison Productions comes a comedy with bite. In order to save his wildlife TV show from being cancelled, dim-witted host Peter Gaulke (Steve Zahn) and his half-baked crew of misfits have one last chance to turn the ratings around. Desperate to stay on the air, Peter hatches a plan to track down the most elusive beast on Earth – Bigfoot. But when killer pygmies, frisky border guards and an amorous turkey threaten to cut their expedition short, the crew of Strange Wilderness will soon discover that nature is one bad mother.”

“Strange Wilderness” is rated R for non-stop language, drug use, crude and sexual humor.

The Movie:
I really wanted to like “Strange Wilderness.” I think the concept of a failed nature show run by idiots is a hilarious concept full of comedy potential. It gets even better when they start hunting for Bigfoot. I love the cast, too. This movie was right up my alley. Unfortunately, the final product wasn’t all that great.

“Strange Wilderness” starts out promising enough. We’re introduced to Zahn and his documentary crew and we see a number of his horrendous nature films as he visits a TV station. It’s some really funny stuff. But as the film progresses, the humor gets lower and lower. They increasingly resort to gross out gags and sex jokes and it gets old fast. Things briefly pick up when they actually finally find Bigfoot, but the finale gets even more absurd. The laughs are fewer and more far between.

Steve Zahn is his usual hyperactive surfer/stoner self as Peter Gaulke. His performance dances back and forth across the “over the top” line. Scenes where he narrates the terrible nature films are hilarious. Scenes where he attempts to communicate with Mexicans are incredibly stupid. So it’s a mixed bag. Jonah Hill is also his usual foul mouthed, snarky self as Cooker, but it’s a lot less endearing here than it was in “Superbad.” Justin Long gets a lot of laughs simply by looking stoned. The rest of the cast is made up of Adam Sandler’s usual friends from his other movies. (Would these guys be employed without him?) Then there’s Ashley Scott as Cheryl. She holds her own with the boys and shows she can handle comedy. She just needs better material to work with. Also look for cameos by Harry Hamlin, Robert Patrick, and Ernest Borgnine.

If you like lowbrow comedy, are a fan of Steve Zahn no matter what he’s in, or a big Adam Sandler fan, then you’ll want to check out “Strange Wilderness.”

You’ll find several bonus features among the extras. There are 13 deleted scenes, raw footage of Jonah ad-libbing “Cooker’s Song,” a featurette on the scene with the turkey, and raw footage of Justin Long and Jonah Hill ad-libbing. That last one isn’t too flattering for Long or Hill as it shows them asking Ernest Borgnine if he ever “fingered” Nell Carter. It’s pretty disgraceful and you even see the crew apologizing to Borgnine. Rounding out the bonus features is an episode of the TV show “Reel Comedy” where the cast is interviewed while animals mill in the background.