Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

My deepest apologies to gay dudes everywhere, but when actor John C. McGinley, playing the highway patrolman in the movie ‘Wild Hogs’ happens upon our four heroes cozily sleeping in an inflatable bed off the side of the road in the middle of their road trip, he reveals that he is gay.  He also does it in way that is very funny, and possibly offensive to gay dudes everywhere.  Basketball player Tim Hardaway probably wouldn’t have laughed, but I sure did.  You would think there would come a time when a dude dressed up in a macho cop uniform, pretending to be overtly gay would stop being funny at some point.  I’m gonna hate that day that day folks, ‘cause that should ALWAYS be funny, just like a coconut falling on somebody’s head should always be funny.


‘Wild Hogs’ IS funny, and that’s really all you need to know about this movie people.  It’s not going cause you to become introspective, or make you think.  It’s not going to cause you to ponder or reflect, and it’s not going to enrich your life or cause you to marvel at the cinematic genius of those involved.  But at some point during its ninety minute running time, it should make you laugh.  If it doesn’t, then I don’t know what to tell you other than observe that you probably get your humor from the subtext of ‘I Claudius’ on Masterpiece Theater.


Doug (Tim Allen), Woody (John Travolta), Bobby (Martin Lawrence), and Dudley (William H. Macy) are the Wild Hogs; a group middle aged men of who ride their Harleys on the weekend to the bike club and have an imported beer or two and mocha lattes (Note:  Martin Lawrence is about fifteen years younger than those other three dudes, but I can’t offhand think of a popular middle aged black comic they could have stuck in the role).  All four of these men have their share of middle aged problems.

Doug can’t eat bacon and is a dentist, Woody has lost his swimsuit model wife and his fortune, Bobby is henpecked by his wife and disrespected by his children and Dudley is the wimpy computer geek.  Inspired to change their lives the four decide to take their expensive bikes and ride across country, as opposed to across town, for a real life road trip.


So just like Bing and Bob used to have back in the day, we have ourselves a real live road picture which lends itself to all kinds of madcap zaniness.  Unfortunately for our crew they stumble upon a group of ‘real’ bikers in the El Fuegos lead by led by the crazed Jack, as played Ray Liotta, at his insane laughing, overacting best who is obviously mocking himself.  The El Fuegos hate suburban bikers, take Dudley’s bike and tell the Hogs to go back to Cincinnati.  Woody though ain’t going out like that and steals Dudley’s bike back, but unfortunately blows up the Fuegos club house in the process.  Well, none too happy about that, the Fuegos set about hunting down the Hogs  which leads them to the sleepy town of Madrid New Mexico where mayhem, zaniness, and laughter will hopefully ensue.


The thing about ‘Wild Hogs’ which you may find odd, but I didn’t is that John Travolta was by far the funniest character in the movie, and that’s with professional stand up comedians Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence in tow.  You see I’m old enough to have actually seen Vinnie Barbarino in the sitcom ‘Welcome Back Kotter’.  Sure I was in the second grade at the time, but I do remember it.  John Travolta carried that show, and ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ is the reason why dude is fortunate enough to have a 1 billion acre ranch with the airport sized runway and a 747 parked on it.  And be married to Kelly Preston.  If it wasn’t for John C. McGinleys’ gay highway patrol cop, JT would have stole the show.  But damn that gay cop was funny.


As is typical with a movie like this, the plot is completely disposable and predictable.  Not all of the jokes are funny and some are truly lame.  Tim Allen isn’t funny at all, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone and I hate to say that ‘cause he’s a home boy.  Martin is funnier than Tim, but similar to my man Steven Seagal, Martin doesn’t actually step into a character, he’s just Martin Lawrence.  Shoot, watch ‘House Party’ from 1980 whatever.  That’s the same dude that’s in this movie.  It was also a little strange to see Martin kissing on Pam (Tichina Arnold) form the old ‘Martin’ show.  And though I haven’t seen Pam in years, I see the time off have made her butt and boobs grow to glorious proportions.   And as is typical with a movie like this, the ending consists of more inane slapstick and fake sentimentality than you can probably stand.


But yet again, if you want originality, clever plotting, cutting dialog, brilliant direction and inspired acting then subscribe to Showtime and catch ‘Dexter’.  But if want to forget that the IRS has a lien on your mobile home and is garnishing your check for an hour and half, and watch Tim Allen get hit in the nuts with a softball, then I can’t recommend enough that you catch ‘Wild Hogs’.  Don’t forget that funny gay cop too.  Damn he was funny.

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