Seeming rather like an ad for Harley Davidson, "Wild Hogs" actually manages to be somewhat more watchable than one might expect. The film, about a bunch of guys going through a mid-life crisis (played by a bunch of actors who are probably at the mid-life crisis point themselves), focuses in on dentist Doug Madsen (Tim Allen), emergency sewage engineer Bobby Davis (Martin Lawrence), unemployed Woody Stevens (John Travolta) and computer engineer Dudley Frank (William H. Macy).
During their free time the group heads out on their Harleys to get away from the stress of daily life on the open road. After they hear about the passing of a friend that was close to their age, they decide to go on a road trip they can always remember. They eventually wind up at a biker bar where they run into an actual biker gang named the Del Fuegos, which is lead by Jack (Ray Liotta). Jack quickly grows furious at the suburbanites trying to play bikers and embarasses the bunch, eventually sending them on their way.
Woody sneaks back to the bar and manages to pull a prank that causes a whole lot more damage than he expected it would. Soon enough, the Del Fuegos realize who's behind the incident and head off on their bikes looking for revenge. While Woody initially doesn't warn his friends of the danger, eventually he has to when the biker gang tracks them down.
The script by Brad Copeland barely offers much of a plot and the jokes are largely creaky, although there a few decent bits, such as Travolta's character trying to negotiate pay - first reasoning, then yelling - with a local kid who he hired to rake his leaves. However, while the performances by the four leads are certainly not among their finest, the four haven't seemed quite so relaxed in a while and their performances do at least elevate the material a bit. Marisa Tomei also offers a pleasant supporting role as the small town local that Macy's character falls for.
I think the main issue with the film is that it's an easy ride for these actors, and while it appears to have made them seem more comfortable in their roles, the issue is that the laughs suffer. The jokes in the film are cheap, slapstick or lowbrow gags, such as Macy's character running into things or his computer's voice recognition opening up internet sites that are definitely not what he asked for. Macy's certainly not bad here (in fact, his performance is the best of the bunch), but he deserves better than this.
Overall, "Wild Hogs" offers a set of relaxed performances and a few decent jokes. It's forgettable fluff, but manages to be a reasonably decent time waster.
VIDEO: "Wild Hogs" is presented by Touchstone Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality is not demo quality, but image quality is still just fine. Sharpness and detail were not outstanding, but sharpness and detail are still quite pleasing, with only a few minor instances of softness. Some slight edge enhancement and a couple of trace instances of artifacting were spotted, but these issues are not distracting. Colors are bright and vivid, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is largely a comedy mix, with the majority of the audio up front. Surrounds delivered some minor ambience and some reinforcement of the film's pop/rock soundtrack. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue and some enjoyable bass behind the music.
EXTRAS: director Walt Becker and writer Brad Copeland offer up an audio commentary. We also get the "Bikes, Brawls and Burning Bars: The Making of Wild Hogs" featurette, "How to Get Your Wife to Let You Buy a Motorcycle" short piece, outtakes and a few deleted scenes.
Final Thoughts: I wasn't too wild about "Wild Hogs", but the film is a decent "time waster", with reasonably good performances from the four leads and had a few mildly funny moments. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality and a respectable set of bonus features. A light rental recommendation for fans of the actors.
The Film C