Review: 'Wild Hogs' chokes 

So revved up and so dim. Lackluster adventures and immature gags dominate "Wild Hogs," a comedy about four midlife buddies who hit the highway on their Harleys, aching to revive their flagging vigor. In an early scene, one of the guys rebels against his diet regimen and wolfs down a stick of butter. That’s about as funny as this movie gets.

There are a couple essentials for a road flick — a satisfying pit stop or two, and some appealing human connection —and neither exists in this film, whose director, Walt Becker, previously gave us "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder." Basically, we spend puerile time with four mild and crazy guys.

Ego-deflated dentist Doug (Tim Allen), henpecked plumber Bobby (Martin Lawrence), bankrupt businessman Woody (John Travolta), and woman-shy computer geek Dudley (William H. Macy) are middle-aged friends who, calling themselves the "Wild Hogs," cruise Cincinnati streets on motorcycles on weekends to forget their sagging lives. Yearning to feel young again, the four embark on a freewheeling Pacific-bound trip — a journey that snags when they encounter a hard-core biker gang led by a brute named Jack (Ray Liotta). An inadvertently humongous stunt pulled by Woody inflames Jack, leading to a desert-town showdown.

Surely, there’s human-interest and comic potential in the culture of weekend warriors who tap into their inner wild one on their days off in order to feel vital in suburbia. And there’s no reason why the setup couldn’t yield some male-friendship spark.

To be fair, the movie prompts one laugh, which stems from an appearance by a star of a classic biker flick. But even this amounts to simply a sight gag.

Wild Hogs *

Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy

Written by Brad Copeland

Directed by Walt Becker

Rated PG-13

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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