Eric D. Snider

Wild Hogs

Movie Review

Wild Hogs

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: F

Released: March 2, 2007

 

Directed by:

Cast:

There are many things I could rant about with regard to the awful ineptitude that is "Wild Hogs." I could weep that Brad Copeland, a screenwriter with multiple "My Name Is Earl" and "Arrested Development" credits could conceive something this brainless. I could express horror that John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and Tim Allen -- three of the least-funny, least-talented comic actors currently working -- have been corralled into one film, comprising a supergroup of bad comedy. Or I could wonder why William H. Macy, an acclaimed actor of both comedy and drama and a master of subtlety, would even want to associate with these hams.

But instead, I am going to choose one of the film's jokes and harp on it endlessly.

In the beginning, each character gets an introductory scene that explains in simple, no-gray-area terms what that character's problems are. This is necessary so that later, after the four middle-aged guys have taken their motorcycles on a cross-country road trip, they can discover that the experience has magically solved all their crises. (The Tim Allen character actually says, exasperatedly, "What do I gotta do to relate to my son?!" Gee, d'ya suppose the road trip will provide the answer?!!!)

Macy's scene has his character, a nerdy computer programmer named Dudley, sitting in a coffeeshop with his laptop. It has voice commands: When he says, "Open browser," the computer does it and replies, "Browser open." Dudley is awkward around women, and becomes flustered when a beautiful lady sits at a neighboring table. He says hello and smiles at her, and then says, "I'm researching some alternative specs." The computer says, "Researching alternative sex," and suddenly Web sites depicting old ladies and farm animals appear, each of them with streaming video and loud old-lady-and-horse sounds. The pretty woman is appalled, and an embarrassed Dudley tries to make the videos stop, but he can't! He finally pries off the keyboard and starts yanking wires from circuits, and then he accidentally spills his coffee on it and everything blows up.

If you're a sentient being, you've just identified at least a hundred things wrong with that comedy scenario, things that are illogical, impossible, or just plain unfunny. On the other hand, if you're one of the howling morons who was in the "Wild Hogs" preview audience, you are probably wetting your pants anew at my summary of the hilarity you witnessed the other night.

Anyway, here's a simple list, off the top of my head, of reasons that scene doesn't work.

1. Even if Dudley had software with voice recognition (which is possible; he is a computer programmer), I doubt he'd use it in a noisy coffeehouse. Not only would its functionality be impaired by all the commotion, but Dudley is a shy man, too. Why would he draw attention to himself by talking to his computer?

2. Even if he did use voice-recognition software in public, why would he tell a complete stranger, apropos of nothing, that he was researching "alternative specs"? What does that even MEAN? "Alternative specs"? Alternative to what? What kind of specs? That's utter nonsense! It's something an idiot writer comes up with because he wants the end result to be "alternative sex," and he has to think of something that sort of sounds like that.

3. Even if he did use voice-recognition software in public, and even if he did say "alternative specs" for no reason, and even if the computer did misunderstand him and search for "alternative sex" instead, the granny-and-animal sites wouldn't just pop up by themselves. The search engine would present Dudley with a list of matches to his query, and Dudley would click the link for the one he wanted to look at. (I know this because I have used the Internet. Apparently the filmmakers have not.)

4. Even if he did use voice-recognition, and even if he did say "alternative specs," and even if the computer did look for "alternative sex," and even if the sites did pop up automatically, they wouldn't just start playing videos. Almost all porn sites, seeking to avoid legal troubles, have a portal page first, reminding you that you're about to access porn and giving you one last chance to go elsewhere. It's those index pages that Dudley's over-helpful search engine would have called up, not the actual videos themselves (which you usually can't see unless you pay for them anyway) (I'm just sayin').

5. Even if he did use voice-recognition, and even if he did say "alternative specs," and even if the computer did look for "alternative sex," and even if the sites did pop up automatically, why couldn't he turn them off? HE'S A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER. I am merely a computer user, and yet I thought immediately of three possible solutions: close the browser windows; turn down the sound; or, if all else fails, close the laptop. You will note that none of my solutions involves ripping out circuit wires or spilling coffee.

Sometimes I get e-mails from lame people who demand to know, if I think the movie is so bad, could I do any better? Huh? HUH?? The answer is usually yes, I could do better, and so could most people, even children. But to prove that, here is my revision of this scene from "Wild Hogs":

(DUDLEY sees PRETTY LADY and smiles at her.)
DUDLEY: My computer calls up porn at random, and I am powerless to stop it.
PRETTY LADY: I see.
DUDLEY: (takes gun from coat pocket, shoots self in head)

(Exeunt all.)

Dudley and his pals are Cincinnati men with uninteresting lives who ride motorcycles like wannabe tough guys on the weekends. Then they take a road trip to California, which the movie presents by showing them leaving Cincinnati, entering Missouri, and then, in a curious bit of geography, instantly entering New Mexico.

In New Mexico, they run afoul of a REAL biker gang, the Del Fuegos, run by Ray Liotta. One of the Cincinnati guys (John Travolta, specifically) burns down the Del Fuegos' bar, and then the movie wants us to be supportive as the Ohio foursome flees responsibility for the act. This is an example of the Protagonists Are Blameless philosophy, wherein no matter what the main character does, it is always considered OK. You see it frequently in Disney movies, which this technically is. Later, when the Del Fuegos threaten to burn down a diner in retaliation, the idea is made to seem utterly reprehensible.

Travolta, Lawrence, and Allen all do plenty of their customary mugging, falling, blustering, and cavorting, and director Walt Becker -- of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" fame -- encourages them to be as big as possible with it, all the better to overplay the jokes and beat the gags to death. It is not enough that a state trooper should see the four men camping and erroneously believe them to be homosexuals; he should show up again in a later scene, too, and enthusiastically skinny-dip with them. Similarly, why include one hit to the groin in a movie when you can include 50? Furthermore, why watch this film at all when you could stay home and put your head in the oven instead?

Grade: F

Rated PG-13, a lot of profanity, some vulgarity, a lot of innuendo, some nonsexual naked butts

1 hr., 39 min.

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This item has 53 comments

  1. Fritz S. says:

    Gotta say Eric I do like your revized edition of that scene. Anyways I don't think anybody was lookin' forward to Wild Hogs, And when I see there are movies out here like this...makes me wish Mystery Science Theater 3000 were still arounding mocking them.

  2. Ian says:

    Ha! I love the 'F' reviews.

  3. Eric Herman says:

    Heheh. Yes, the F reviews are very entertaining. I love the "even if" sequence. I think a lot of comedy, even a lot of good comedy, is contrived to some extent, but good grief... that's just ridiculous. All of these things are extremely unlikely to happen, but if they all somehow did happen, hey, wouldn't that be hilarious?

  4. shib says:

    Eric, what an extensive knowledge of internet pornography you have!

  5. Sean says:

    I loved "you are probably wetting your pants anew." The 'F' reviews are, by themselves, reason enough to encourage Hollywood to keep cranking out their big, steaming piles of feces.

  6. Skenderberg says:

    Note to Fritz S:

    MST3K is still around, it's just taken a different form. Many of the comedians who used to do that show now mock more modern films at www.rifftrax.com.

    As for WIld Hogs, I'm actually quite happy that people actually make films like this. Not because they're fun to watch (though a few fall into the "so bad it's good" category) but because of the hilarious reviews they tend to inspire.

  7. Jeff B says:

    "(DUDLEY sees PRETTY LADY and smiles at her.)
    DUDLEY: My computer calls up porn at random, and I am powerless to stop it.
    PRETTY LADY: I see.
    DUDLEY: (takes gun from coat pocket, shoots self in head)

    (Exeunt all.)"

    If you're a sentient being, you've probably identified a few problems with this scene.
    1. Characters played by William H. Macy are unlikely to initiate conversation with pretty ladies.
    2. He definitely wouldn't open with a statement about computer porn.
    3. Pretty ladies are unlikely to be so non-commital about discussing computer porn.
    4. Dudley has no reason to shoot himself in the head. If you're going to have him shoot himself in the head, some cause is required.
    5. Finally, the stage direction "Exeunt all" indicates that Dudley gets up after shooting himself in the head and walks off stage -- a very illogical ending to the scene.

    I think I can do better.

    (PRETTY LADY approaches DUDLEY in coffee shop while DUDLEY is looking at his computer and is obviously doing something with his hand in his pocket.)
    PRETTY LADY: Do you like porn?
    (DUDLEY shoots himself in the foot with the gun he's been holding.)
    (Exit PRETTY LADY. Exit DUDLEY hopping on one foot, holding his laptop and spilling his coffee.)

  8. Devino says:

    This review shows exactly why newer comedies like "The Office" are really funny. What makes The Office so funny is because of the some-what believable situations that they are put in. With the exception of most of Michael's antics. Gross-out humor that is unrealistic just isn't very funny, especially when it is forced.

  9. AdamOndi says:

    The only thing I needed to hear in order to hate this movie and vow never to see it is the following line from the radio spot advertising the movie:

    "Wild Hogs. A movie so funny, it will knock you... on your asphalt."

    Get it????!!?!! Asphalt???!??!??! It's funny because it almost sounds like we made a swear. Tee hee hee.

  10. Timmy!!! says:

    I'm sad that I have to be the first one to point this out...but, here goes: "SIMPSONS DID IT!" Remember when Homer and Moe and their buddies started a motorcycle gang, called the Hell's Satans, and they run afoul of a real motorcycle gang (whose leader was voiced by, I believe, John Goodman) who tries to steal Marge from Homer?

    This data is all stored, conveniently, right in my head. Like many people, I have an inordinate amount of my brain storage capacity dedicated to Simpsons episodes. I didn't even have to look anything up to know this plot was stolen from the Simpsons! Don't Hollywood filmmakers work in the entertainment industry? Isn't it reasonable to assume that someone involved with this film would know it's a ripoff?

  11. card says:

    Timmy!!! - Rip-off movies are made all the time. Sometimes production companies make the exact same movie, only they get different actors and give it a different name. Disney even makes the same movies over and over again. Duck Tales:Treasure of the Lost Lamp is the same movie as Aladdin. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty are the same movie. Etc.

  12. Bob says:

    I suppose that Macy somehow ended up there when Chevy Chase wasn't available.

  13. mike says:

    hilarious review...probably more laughs in this one page review than in the entire 99 minutes of the movie

  14. David Manning says:

    As long as there are are raucous philistines to feed (and, presumably, *make*) these contemptible heaps of trash, they will continue to be made like license plates...

  15. Marc says:

    I guess my wife and I and the packed audience that saw Wild Hogs with us must all be morons because everyone seemed to enjoy the movie and had lots of laughs. Just renews my opinion that many professional movie reviewers are self-righteous snots who like to sneer at us common folks as "morons". Philosphically it's the classic argument from inimidation. My opinion is the right opinion and if you don't agree then you're an idiot. Review the movie, Snider, don't insult those of your readers who liked the movie.

    If you wanted to, you could pick holes in almost any movie - Take Star Trek for example - teleporters are logically impossible, Shatner's acting is wooden, travelling at "warp" speed is impossible, there is no proven life on other planets and the odds of there being as many and diverse life forms as depicted is even slimmer so Star Trek must be crap. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: there's no such thing as parallel universes reached by going through wardrobes, no such thing as witches or talking beavers so the movie must be crap.

    The movie was slapstick. As slapstick, it was entertaining. If you don't like slapstick, don't waste your time going to see it or review it and nauseate us with your opinion.

  16. David says:

    No one laughed at any of the shows for the trailer for knocked up, which looks hilarious, yet everyone guffawed at the cringe inducing poop in a bag (I'm an usher, so I had to watch some of the film). And yeah, like Marc said, every show was packed. The only thing I could tell I liked from the film was the ripping off Reservoir Dogs with changing the stories for the 4 characters. That was about it.

  17. bex says:

    Marc, in your case, there just isn't accounting for good taste. You, and everyone that laughed along with you, really are morons, as you so succintly put it. It's like Idiocracy all over again.

  18. David Manning says:

    Marc, I'm not going to call you names, because believe it or not, calling someone names doesn't support your argument. Here are some things I'd like to point out about what you said:

    -First of all, you do not represent the entire party of "us common folks." In this instance, everyone on this page that isn't a film critic (that excludes ONE person) falls into that party, and so far, on this board, you're the only one that feels the way you do.

    "If you wanted to, you could pick holes in almost any movie - Take Star Trek for example - teleporters are logically impossible, Shatner's acting is wooden, travelling at "warp" speed is impossible, there is no proven life on other planets and the odds of there being as many and diverse life forms as depicted is even slimmer so Star Trek must be crap. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: there's no such thing as parallel universes reached by going through wardrobes, no such thing as witches or talking beavers so the movie must be crap."

    ...Hence the names FANTASY, and SCIENCE FICTION.

    "If you don't like slapstick, don't waste your time going to see it OR REVIEW IT AND NAUSEATE US WITH YOUR OPINION."

    Wow. I'm not even going to bother pointing out how flawed that demand is, because I really shouldn't have to. I reeeaaally shouldn't. Just think about that sentence. That's all.

  19. jlson says:

    I thought this movie was great. I mean, ya, the writing was terrible, the situations implausible and there characters were over the top, but there's something funny about seeing a man get kicked in the Johnson, that, well, is just funny. I think that you can recognize that this movie was junk but still admit that it had its moments, even if few and far between.

  20. BeeDub says:

    Some idiot citing the movie's $38 million opening weekend take as "proof" of how good it is in 5... 4... 3...

  21. Andrew D says:

    So did Tim Allen relate to his son by the end? I was a little busy baking my cranium to see the movie myself, but I absolutely MUST know.

  22. Ben C. says:

    I think the fact that this movie made $38 million over the weekend and was #1 is very sad and it makes me wish that common sense still existed. If A) Washed up actors, B) bad writers, and C) extensive marketing that don't tell you much about the movie happen you can pretty much bet it's going to be horrible. People going to watch this makes me sad to call myself a human and be associated with them in that way.

  23. M. OK says:

    I haven't seen it and don't intend to--movies like this are cultural junk food. I saw the preview, cringed, and knew I would hate it. Others don't mind the mindless filler and the endless groin shots. (In my imagination, these are the same people I see buying Econo-packs of Slim Jims.) I guess there's just no accounting for taste.

  24. TimAllenMustDie says:

    Eric, how DARE you force "Marc" (poor commentor number15) to come to your website, then force him to read your review! Shame on you!

    While i respect David Manning's attempt to avoid name-calling, sometimes you need to call a spade a spade....Marc, you are a moron.

  25. Hugh Johnson says:

    Well, the flick made $38 million in its openeing weekend so it cant' be THAT bad. I think u guys need to liten up and have some fun with it

  26. BeeDub says:

    Thank you, Hugh, for making an honest man out of me. For a while there, I was thinking that perhaps no one would be stupid enough to post the tired old "money = quality" arguement, but then there you were, backing me up! Thanks, buddy.

  27. Ben C. says:

    I hope Hugh is merely joking and posted that to be funny. If he's really trying to make that argument that's really sad.

  28. john doe says:

    It's a shame when you can't tell the difference between a joke and someone being serious (like with Hugh). We have bad spelling going on and poor logic, but that could be part of the joke...I'm going to have to puzzle over that one.

    While I can imagine someone getting a chuckle out of this movie now and again, I can't imagine spending real money to see it (like $8 or more). Stuff you see on tv has more wit and originality and it's FREE. While I can't fault people for watching dumb movies, I will fault them for paying money to see dumb movies.

  29. B says:

    Well, Hugh Johnson is clearly a joke name, the seriousness of the comment is less clear, though. However, anybody who would consider "Hugh Johsnson" to be funny is the kind of person who would find Road Hogs to be the epitome of hilarity, so I think his comment was meant to be serious.

  30. dwight m lee says:

    the single most boring review i have ever read in my 57 years!

  31. T. Crain says:

    This is probably the funniest movie review I've ever read - my friends and I all had a great time reading it. The suggested alternative scene is classic. Great job Eric!

  32. pizzatheface says:

    Seriously, Marc (#15), take your own advice: "If you don't like reading reviews that disagree with your elitist views of slapstick movies, don't read them."

    As for the rest of us, I'm glad Eric took this bullet for me so I don't have to.

    You're a real hero, Eric.

  33. Genevieve says:

    I saw tis movie, my mom wanted to go. I would give it a D-. IT WAS SO STUPID!!!! And the homophobia was ridiculous & way too much. Grow up. The whole thing was silly. And yeah, that computer/porn scene was dumb.

  34. Lane says:

    I laughed when I saw the trailer for it. I can't afford to see another movie until Summer though, so I guess I'll never know if it's really that bad.

  35. Rob D says:

    I agree the review was better than the movie. I was also thinking that Dudley should just CLOSE the laptop. If I'm watching an episode of "The Office" on my laptop (or doing something that my nephew thinks is boring), my 4 year old nephew just closes it. He must be genius to be smarter than a computer programmer. Also, has there ever been a more unrealistic "couple" than Dudley and Maggie. In the history of movies, I can't think of one Marisa Tomei looks amazing at 42, I didn't even recognizer her.

  36. Pumpkin says:

    I was shocked to find out that someone as talented as William H Macy would stoop to appearing in such tripe. I always read Eric's reviews of a movie before deciding whether to go see it/rent it, and with the exception of Moulin Rouge, my opinions are always very close to his. Thanks, Eric, for screening all those movies out there and warning us of the real stinkers so that we don't have to pay $8 just to suffer!

  37. froggonewild says:

    I never saw the movie but this review is not only hilarious its also very convincing!

  38. John Doe says:

    My roommate went to the theaters and told me Eric is wrong. He and his family thought it was hilarious. Then he downloaded the movie to show me the best parts. I now wonder what is wrong with him. Nobody throws a burning object at their tent and then nobody notices it. Nobody pours gasoline on said burning tent. My jaw was open the whole time because I couldn't believe someone said "hey, this is funny."

    This show was about dumb people doing unfunny things. I guess there's no accounting for taste, but it sucked.

  39. Andrew D says:

    Glad to see someone else agrees with Eric from first-hand experience.

    By the mouth of two or three witnesses...

  40. Cory says:

    I will never see this movie. Never never never.

  41. Turkey says:

    "Furthermore, why watch this film at all when you could stay home and put your head in the oven instead?"

    HA! I suspected this movie would be a bad one, but I was more than pleased to see it earned the coveted F.

  42. PCachu says:

    Jeff B: Maybe Dudley had no motivation to shoot himself in the head, but William H. Macy sure did. I mean, he just realized he agreed to be in a movie with John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen! Once you make that realization, actual physical suicide is a mere formality.

  43. Romy says:

    If you're looking for a think real hard type of movie, then yeah, the movie's gonna be stupid. But if you're looking for something to make you laugh and forget about crap going on, then it's great. I thought it was funny...it was a stupid/funny movie. Like Napoleon Dynamite. If you try to think while your watching it, then you're gonna hate it. If you're just watching it to relax, unwind, or for plain entertainment, then you'll love it.

  44. Bickmo says:

    #43 - Poorly made comedies are not my idea of entertainment. They do not promote relaxing or unwinding, because my nerves cannot take the idiocy.

  45. Dave says:

    OMG! OMG! OMG! I LUV'D TIHS MOVEE!!! iT maid mee ROFL, LOL,LMAO, and LMFAO ALL AT WUNCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!^&!!!!!!

    Plus I love pron almost as much as Eric does!

  46. DeadSalesman says:

    Ok, first off, I enjoyed the movie. I personally think that some movies, you should forget logic and just enjoy them. However, seeing someone get kicked in the crotch more than twice in any movie is boring, and even that is stretching it. I CAN understand why Dudley's computer "Research Alternative Sex", but at the same time, Yes, I agree with Eric, he could, and should have just closed it before it started spewing out random cries of equine ecstacy. Now, I am possessed of two views.

    In support of marc: I agree, I dont think he should have been so harsh. The whole point of slapstick is to be random and to be funny. Not be calculated. Also, nowhere did it say at the theater, nor on the box, that this was INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY so yes, it was make-believe.

    In support of Eric: There is something called the First Amendment to the Constitution that gives freedom of speech, and thus, our friend Eric happens to be in the clear. If you want to judge a movie, any one, in any way, you have the right to do so. people also have the right to criticize you, and you again have the right to criticize them, ad infinitum. I do agree, though. Even though I view the picture as a slapstick comedy, I do desire some parts to actually make sense. As this movie was not considered a SCIENCE FICTION or FANTASY (that would have dealt some, but little, justice), I find the logic errors to be quite glaring. They ALMOST made me uninterested in the movie.

    In my opinion, Wild Hogs was a short reprieve from the tedium that is my life. I did enjoy the movie, but definately would have enjoyed it more if it was continuous (no logic errors) and if they (the writers) steered away from the crude innuendo and variated into a new branch of comedy. In short, I would have given the movie a 60-100 (I have seen horrible, and I am sure Eric has as well. Some think this is bad, but this is the Holy Grail compared to some of the movies Ive seen) but I am not the critic here, and I am merely exercising my right to voice my opinion.

  47. dthse says:

    what is the name of the bar in wild hogs??????????????????????

  48. gunneos says:

    Not to mention critics get access to many film screenings, which makes it unfair to say they are self-righteous snots who pick on moviegoers for their 'moronic' taste. It's just that they've seen a fair share of films and can therefore compare and contrast them better than the average moviegoer who has to pay to watch a film (and not seen as many, obviously).

    Not as self-righteous as I would call jaded.

  49. Tim says:

    "...many professional movie reviewers are self-righteous snots who like to sneer at us common folks as "morons"."

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Amateur ones, too!

  50. Avebell says:

    complete rubbish . Firstof all yes he's shy but he wanted to impress the lady and that's why he was using voice recognition software! Secondly you've missed a bit when he talks to the computer and asks it to "open internet". At this stage computer is being "awkward" as it doesn't understand his command. Lady is watching Dudley struggling with his computer and THAT'S WHY he says to herthat he's looking for alternative specs. Could be specs of the computer OR specs of the software for it tobe able to recognise both "open internet" and "internet open"! You are honestly so dumb! All the above sorts out you 1-3 in the list. As to point 4 - it all depends on how you set up the program. It only prompts if it was programmed to do so! How do you knowmaybe that's one of Dudley's projectshe's working on! Beta version! Number 5 - his mind was way too busy with a girl and even though he is a programmer it doesn't make him efficient in his actions. It's always easier to talk about things on how you'd act if something happens than act when it actually hapenning.

  51. galhy says:

    See Erick, aparently the movie wasn't bad and that scene with Dudley and the pretty lady and the computer mishap wasn't awefuly unfunny; you just don't get it because this has never happened to you.

  52. dddrum says:

    Yeah, Eric! When Macy's character gives the voice command "Open internet," and the computer responds, "internet open," it is not the software registering the completion of the command ("[THE] internet [IS] open"). It is instead the machine itself misunderstanding the two-word command, BOTH WORDS OF WHICH IT REPEATS CORRECTLY, but it puts them in the reverse order because it is "being difficult." Jeez, Eric! You are SO DUMB! Haven't you ever used a computer before, already? No wonder you coont apprishyate this moovy!!

  53. pseudoshemp says:

    your review came up when i did a google search for "wild hogs movie pretty woman coffee shop". cuz i was trying to figure out the name of the woman in the william macy coffee shop laptop scene. just my two cents (as I sit here watching wild hogs for the third time in the last couple of months, with the mentally challenged person i'm caring for at work, who incidentally loves this movie- go ahead and fire away with the jokes): lighten up. this movie isn't intended to be highbrow comedy. tim allen and martin lawrence are in it, for ******'s sake. what are you expecting? for what it (wild hogs) is, it's not bad. yes, parts of it are very ********* dumb. but it's got some very funny parts, and lines. just relax, why dontcha?

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