Let’s play a game called “Which one of these doesn’t belong?” I will give you the names of 4 Hollywood actors and you tell me which one doesn’t fit with the others. John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy. If you said Martin Lawrence, then you may be a racist. If you said William H. Macy, then you are still wrong. The answer is all of them. They all don’t belong, especially when it come to making a movie about middle aged men dealing with their mid-life crisis’ by heading off on a cross country motorcycle trip. In fact, prior to making this middle-aged man on bike-a-thon, these four actors had never even met. What they found in their newly acquired kinship may be a movie so laugh out loud funny that it will surprise you; at least, I know it surprised me.
Up to their handle bars in their unfulfilled and clich©d lives, these Wild Hogs decide that it is time to take to the open road where only freedom (and plenty of trouble) lie ahead of them. Doug (Tim Allen) is a dentist whose son has no respect for him because he is “lame”; Bobby (Martin Lawrence) is the classic house husband, bossed around by his wife and ignored by his deviant children; Woody (John Travolta) is a washed up talent agent whose supermodel wife left him to be bankrupt and alone with his Harley; and Dudley (William H. Macy) is a computer programmer whose dating skill set is on par with that of a brick wall.
The four take on the open road, mostly seen riding through the open spaces of the American Midwest, which is aptly filmed by Director Walt Becker (Van Wilder) and Cinematographer Robbie Greenberg (The Santa Clause 3) and supported by a soundtrack mixed with riding music from the 70s (Foghat’s “Slow Ride”) and the 80s (AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”). It is much of what you would expect from a movie where 50% of the 99 minute run time is watching four guys ride their hogs on a lonely highway.
What you don’t expect is the infectious brand of comedy that this foursome delivers, with the help of some interesting characters of the open road, of course. Among those interesting characters is a brief encounter with a nefariously gay highway patrolman, played by the constantly scene stealing John C. McGinley (Office Space). Also among those interesting characters is Jack (Ray Liotta), a hardcore biker and the leader of a gang called the Del Fuegos. After a quick run-in with the Del Fuegos that results in the blowing up of their biker bar, the “Hogs” find themselves no longer on their way to the free, open roads and more or less on the run.
Of course they seek to find a way out of their mess, bond together and break free of their mundane existences to prove that they are still young at heart. But you don’t care about that, nor will you care about it when you see this movie (and hint, hint: you should see this movie). What you will care about is the fact that this predictably sappy plot yields some surprisingly ruckus comedic moments, all at the hands of its four bikesmen. Travolta is a bit zany, Allen is oblivious, Lawrence is full of attitude and William H. Macy is just unnecessarily geeky. Yet when you combine them all, you pretty much end up laughing your ass off. And you will, in fact, laugh your ass off. And you’ll be glad that the folks who made this one didn’t play that old game of “Which one doesn’t belong?”
Wild Hogs is in theaters nationwide on March 2, has a running time of 99 minutes and is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and some violence.