Wild Hogs (2007)

Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V- 4; L- 3; S/N-2 Running time: 1 hour 39 min.

Two are better than one, because they have
a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one
will lift up the other; but woe to one who is
alone and falls and does not have another to
help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm;
but how can one keep warm alone? And though
one might prevail against another, two will with-
stand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Wild Hogs

Despite the drubbing this film has taken from the critics, I decided to see it on the basis of a friend’s report, and was glad that I did. Whereas it definitely is not in the same league as such biker movies as The Wild One or Easy Rider, nor for that matter, the film the plot of which this most resembles, City Slickers, Wild Hogs provides some comic relief and escape that such non-pretentious films can provide, as well as illustrating what the Preacher reminded his readers concerning the blessing of living in fellowship as compared to going it alone.

The story of four child-men who, in the midst of their midlife crises, yearn to rise above their humdrum daily lives, is one that many us can identify with. Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence) has dreams of making it big, but his bossy wife forces him to return to “The Firm,” which turns out to be a drain unclogging business. Woody Stevens (John Travolta) is distraught to learn that his wild lifestyle has bankrupted him and that his wife has left him. Dudley Frank (William H. Macy) is a computer nerd who loves donning a leather jacket and meeting once a week to ride his “hog” with his three buddies and drink beer at a faux bikers’ bar. Probably the most fortunate of the four is Doug Madsen (Tim Allen), a dentist who has a very supportive wife Kelly (Jill Hennessy) but a young son who has no respect for him.

At first the group resists the desperate Woody’s call to break away for a week or two biker’s trek from Cincinnati to the Pacific coast, but soon they succumb to his siren call, Bobby lying to his wife that he will be away at a convention. The main offensive sequence involving the old Hollywood stereotyping of gays takes place along the way when a muscular motorcycle cop wants to join them for the wrong reason. Out west at a real biker’s bar the four run afoul of a gang led by Jack, played by Ray Liotta in his most sneering mode. When Woody accidentally burns down their saloon, the four take off, stopping over in the desert town of Madrid when they run out of gas. Here Dudley falls for the waitress Maggie (Marisa Tomei), and when Jack and his gang catch up with them and threatens to burn down Maggie’s cafe unless the four come out from hiding, the four are faced with the choice of flight or fight, despite their fright.

Nice moment/sign of freedom: At the beginning of their trek the four, some more reluctantly than others, throw away their cell phones. How have these devices often been used in movies as symbolizing something other than a means of communication?