Ok, I saw “Wild Hogs,” the testosterone filled mid-life crisis movie that is now in first place at the box office. It is over-the-top zany, starring film favorites John Travolta (who sports a do-rag), funny men Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence, and jowly-face William H. Macy. First, let me offer this disclaimer: this is not the type of movie I ordinarily voluntarily see. I go for the more sedate and cerebral, the far less action packed--you know the kind—they make you outraged at some soci-political injustice that leaves you to ponder your life purpose. Don’t get me wrong. I like comedies. The last one I saw, “Stranger than Fiction,” is the kind of dark comedy I prefer. That said, in spite of myself, I yucked it up a lot at “Wild Hogs.” Blame it on the winter blues and a much-appreciated respite from my personal war with hives.
The movie doesn’t require a post-movie latte to talk about its deeper symbolism. In fact, the next day, I didn’t remember many movie details. What I remember is what I think is the message of the movie. It is pure escape. It is unadulterated fun. I did have some eyebrow raising moments and a few negative head-shakes over some of the motorcycle crashes but I recall laughing often. Here is my take on “Wild Hogs.”
Four men, feeling the pressures and headaches of aging, home, and business, decide to chuck it all for some male bonding, bravado and bikes. They take off on a cross-country ride clad in requisite leather jackets, Beanie helmets, and sunglasses. In one scene even their cellphone are tossed. Sitting atop cruisers—of course, Harley Davidsons, they rev their engines and try their best to look refrigerator-cool along scenic roads that we don’t see enough of in this movie. From the beginning, I couldn’t help think that these guys should have taken a motorcycle skills course before heading out—off course if they had, this wouldn’t be the come hell or high water adventure movie that it is.
The intrepid foursome’s adventure lands them in a stereotypical biker bar filled with “Del Fuegos, thugs led by “Jack” (Ray Liotta). The Del Fuegos wear bad leather vests, sport tattoos, and appear not to have bathed since the ‘60s. These badly aging thugs show years of drinking and hell rising and it looks like many have suffered serious damage to their frontal lobes as a result. Their idea of a great time is talking smack 24/7 and terrorizing towns folks, especially suburban city-slicker wanna-be bikers who dare venture into Del Fuego biker bar hell.
The Wild Hogs spend the rest of the movie trying to escape, outsmart, and defeat the maniacal Del Fuegos. We are given tons of slapstick comedy, bike crashes, head banging, small town humor and even a budding love story between Macy’s character and Marisa Tomei.
“Wild Hogs” will appeal to many folks if they see the movie for what it is: a wild and crazy, Four Stooges type comedy that will make you laugh. I will say this…and I don’t think I’m the first to do so, the movie could have had a disclaimer or some sort of statement at the end that encouraged motorcycle safety and skills training. It would not have come across as preaching nor detracted from the movie’s free-wheeling fun. I just think it would have been a nice responsible touch at the end—something to talk about over a post-movie latte.