Born to be Average
Despite having read numerous, sometimes scathing reviews of "Wild Hogs" I still had a burning desire to watch it, and even though after watching it I tended to agree with a few of the negatives which have been levied against it, I still really enjoyed it for what it was, a bit of simple entertainment. "Wild Hogs" is nothing more than a blatant attempt to capitalize on the box-office like ability of its leading men, as the storyline is pretty basic, and the humour at its best relies heavily on juvenile visual gags, although thankfully not to the extent of being gross out humour.
Fed up of their middle aged, mundane lives, let alone their moaning wives, four friends decide to set out on a motorbike road trip in search of freedom, fun and their lost youth. But it seems that their attempts to escape from their boring lives is fraught with disaster and mishaps, especially when they inadvertently upset a mean band of bikers called the Del Fuegos, who are intent on getting their revenge.
The storyline to "Wild Hogs" is basically the reworking of the midlife crisis story, in this case we see four men all in different situations decide to hit the road on their Harleys in an attempt to find some excitement away from their mundane lives. Straight away I couldn't help but notice similarities between the "Wild Hogs" storyline and that of Billy Crystal's "City Slickers", and I must admit I felt "City Slickers" won hands down. The problem is that in the case of "Wild Hogs" the whole movie comes across like a collection of ideas for scenes, which have been tied together in an attempt to make a movie, rather than a coherent storyline which we can really focus on.
To its credit, the story around the trouble with the bad bikers, the Del Fuegos, works well, but it is the build up and following scenes which feel so disjointed. But then I find myself asking "Who is the target audience?", well with a certificate of just 12 I would say it is aimed at a teenage audience who unlike me, probably wouldn't give two hoots whether the storyline is coherently put together and care more for the laughs.
So what about the laughs, well to be honest "Wild Hogs" is a fun movie, with plenty of slapstick, and one liners which will bring a fair few smiles to your face. But quite strangely for a modern movie it seems to have no problem with making homophobic or racial jokes, which to be honest I found very surprising. Maybe it is just me but at times I found the humour rather a strange mix of comedy aimed at a young market but also with an adult context, which although not disgusting could leave a few parents blushing as they have to explain things to their children. For me it is a fine art to make a movie which is aimed at a young market which has enough double-entendres to satisfy parents without making it too blatantly obvious, and sadly "Wild Hogs" fails. But then as an adult I found the humour fun and entertaining, although slightly repetitive when it came to how many times you could laugh at people falling off their bike.
What for me is the key to the success of "Wild Hogs" lies within the bank ability of it's main stars with Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy taking on the unlikely roles of the wannabe bikers. Each of them fits the bill perfectly of men who are suffering a midlife crisis, and even more so as unlikely bikers. One of my fears when it comes to a movie which has four well known names all sharing the limelight is whether they are able to share it and not once did it ever come across that it was a competition to see who could out do each other in the comedy stakes or amount of screen time. But then at times I also felt that they didn't bounce off each other in a comedic sense as much as I would have expected and often moments of humour came over as too precisely scripted/ engineered. I also struggled to really empathise with the characters, and although I found each of them enjoyable for a different reason I honestly wasn't bothered whether they came a cropper or not. I suppose this again boils down to who the target audience is, and I am sure a younger audience wouldn't be taking too much interest in how much they like the characters but as to how funny they are.
Adding to "Wild Hogs" are two enjoyable supporting performance with Ray Liotta taking on the role of the bad-ass leader of the Del Fuegos and Marisa Tomei as a waitress who befriends one of the Wild Hogs, both add their individual charms to their roles.
What this all boils down to is that I found "Wild Hogs" an enjoyable, slightly amusing experience which I would happily watch again, but then I didn't expect to be amazed in any sense of the word. I can understand why many people have criticized the film and agree with many of the comments made, but then I honestly believe that the films target audience is the young teenager who doesn't know that John Travolta was amazing in "Pulp Fiction" and only wants to be entertained here and now. With that in mind, my only real criticism is that some of the humour feels out of place in this day and age where making homophobic/ racist jokes is unacceptable, even if they are done innocently.