starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, Jill
Hennessy and Ray Liotta, with Peter Fonda
screenplay by Brad Copeland
directed by Walt Becker
Four middle aged men - dentist Doug (Allen), attorney Woody (Travolta), computer programmer Dudley (Macy) and plumber Bobby (Lawrence) - are weekend hobby bike riders calling themselves the Wild Hogs. Feeling the pressures of middle age they decide to go on a cross-country road trip on their Harley-Davidsons. So it’s a very American on the road kind of movie, but it is also just another male bonding, identity-seeking mid-life crisis story. It’s a fun movie, but not a serious one. I think the highlight comes at the very end with a cameo appearance by Peter Fonda. Ever since Easy Rider (1969, co-starring Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson) Fonda has been like a mythical motorbike god who has to make an appearance in any motorbike movie that comes along. It’s a Hollywood tradition.
Along the way they have a run in with some un-appreciating real bikers, the Del Fuegos led by a convincingly nasty Ray Liotta (Jack), son of the club founder Damien Blade (Peter Fonda). I don’t like Liotta. I think he is nasty. But I could be wrong.
The cast is good, but I don’t understand Martin Lawrence’s place in the line-up. He seems out of place not because he is the only black man, but because his comedy doesn’t synchronize with the others. Wild Hogs is a Travolta/Allen vehicle. William Macy is along as a supporting character and he knows it, but it feels like Lawrence wants the movie to be a vehicle for himself, too. But it isn’t. Interestingly, most of the comedy - a lot of it sexual innuendo - is at the expense of William Macy who carries it off really well.
I was really interested in seeing Steve Landesberg in the role of Woody’s accountant. Steve Landesberg became famous as the brainy New York Police Detective Arthur Dietrich on the TV sitcom Barney Miller (1975 – 1982 starring Hal Linden, with Ron Glass, Jack Soo, Ron Carey, Abe Vigoda and James Gregory). It’s nice to know that he is still alive and still acting. Where has he been all these years? Community theater in the mid-west? Dinner theater in Vegas?
It’s an okay movie for some light diversion.