Wild Hogs


Tim Allen as Doug Madsen
John Travolta as Woody Stevens
Martin Lawrence as Bobby Davis
William H. Macy as Dudley Frank
Ray Liotta as Jack
Marisa Tomei as Maggie
Kevin Durand as Red
M.C. Gainey as Murdock
Jill Hennessy as Kelly Madsen
Dominic Janes as Billy Madsen
Tichina Arnold as Karen Davis
Stephen Tobolowsky as Charley
Jason Sklar as Earl Dooble
Randy Sklar as Buck Dooble
Drew Sidora as Haley Davis

Despite the likable cast, “Wild Hogs” doesn’t have many laughs beyond what is seen in the advertisements. It’s also too raunchy for a family film and too light for a family comedy.

Doug, Woody, Bobby, and Dudley are four college friends who are now facing mid-life crises. Doug feels he’s no longer the wild, reckless adventurer he once was. Woody is facing financial ruin and a divorce from his supermodel wife. Bobby is hen pecked and is forced to work at a dead end job. Dudley is a klutzy computer geek who’s terrified to speak to women.

Looking to escape the norm and find adventure, they decide to go on a road trip with their motorcycles. But when they hit the road, they encounter one mishap after another. Their misadventures reach a climax when they inadvertently blow up a biker bar. Now with an entire biker gang on their heels, they hide out in a small, idyllic town. But eventually the guys are going to have to face their fears and, potentially, overcome their crises (if they aren’t killed first).

“Wild Hogs” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and some violence.

What Worked:
If you like any of the lead actors in this film, you’re probably going to enjoy “Wild Hogs.” Each of them gets a moment to shine and each of them helps the other to get laughs at one point or another. It has been a while since John Travolta has done a comedy (“Battlefield Earth “doesn’t count), so it was fun to see him cut loose and have fun on the screen. Sure, he’s a bit over the top in his performance at times, but it’s easily forgiven. William H. Macy also stands out as Dudley Frank. I don’t recall ever having seen Macy do slapstick, but he handles it well here. His performance, too, is way over the top, but he’s likable enough as an actor that you soon forget it.

The main actors are backed by a pretty good supporting cast. Héctor Jiménez, from “Nacho Libre,” has a funny cameo as a store clerk. John C. McGinley also has a memorable cameo as a Highway Patrolman that stalks the heroes. M.C. Gainey from “Lost” is also fun to see as the biker Murdock. Stephen Tobolowsky also steals a number of scenes as the wimpy sheriff of the town.

If you like classic rock you should enjoy the soundtrack to “Wild Hogs.” A lot of road trip songs are featured in the film. And be sure to stick around for the credits. There’s a funny end sequence involving the bikers and a famous ABC TV show.

What Didn’t Work:
Unfortunately, most of the funny scenes in this movie can be seen in the commercials and trailers. “Wild Hogs” has little to offer beyond those laughs. The film also seems to have trouble finding the right tone. It features a lot of language and sexual humor that keeps it from being a family film. (And how many times do we really need to see William H. Macy’s butt?) But it also has too much slapstick and cutesy moments that keep it from being an R rated comedy. The result is a film that won’t entirely satisfy family audiences or fans of raunchy comedies.

The Bottom Line:
Despite the likeability of the cast, “Wild Hogs” is only a lukewarm comedy. It’s good for a few laughs but not much more. I’d recommend waiting for it on cable.