| The Red Right Hand
William H. Macy
This is a really stupid, silly film. Luckily for director Walt Becker, I saw Norbit fairly recently and the blueprints of a terribly executed comedy are still fresh in my mind; by comparison, this is comedic genius. By all rights, this should be an entertaining film, four funny guys on a biker road trip - in the hands of lesser talents, we would all cringe but with stars of this calibre (bar Tim Allen) there is a brief glimpse of hope. This fades very quickly as the same jokes are repeated over-and-over (Macy falls off bike / Travolta flips out / Allen gruffly mumbles something / Lawrence says, "I oughta put my foot in yo' ass!" / Repeat). For some reason, I have to confess, I did find myself snickering every now-and-then. I'm not proud of it but once you start to relax into the simplistic world, where both plot and gag are thrown to the wind, certain elements become mildly humorous. Please don't misinterpret that as some form of approval or praise, I'm simply saying I didn't find myself completely repulsed - see Norbit. Wild Hogs starts out plainly enough, showing four middle-aged men and their frustrated lifestyles; Doug [Allen], the dentist whose son doesn't think he's cool; Woody [Travolta], the hot-shot business exec facing bankruptcy; Bobby [Lawrence], the plumber with the bossy wife and Dudley [Macy], the geeky programmer who can't meet women. Each one has a problem and you know by the end of the film they will have solved it, probably through sheer madness and dumb luck.
For whatever reason, these men are the best of friends and each weekend deck-out in leather and ride their bikes to their usual bar [insert Paul Teutul Sr. cameo]. I'm not sure why they would ride to a bar because once they're there they can only have one drink before going over the legal limit but whatever. With his successful lifestyle crumbling around him, Woody feels the need to get away from everything and go on a proper road trip. The others make excuses but eventually sign up for the trip (Cincinnati to California), discarding helmets, mobile phones and (accidentally) tents. The high jinks essentially involve some homophobic 'bonding' and a run-in with shady biker gang, Del Fuegos, at their dilapidated bar (where 'bar' read 'poncy clubhouse'). Accused of being posers, the hogs lose on of their bikes and end up running, tails between their legs. Woody, determined to stand up to anyone and everyone (part of being free or something), walks back to the bar and steals the bike – in typical fashion, he cuts a few wires and the whole bar ends up exploding... but it's alright Del Fuegos have thousands of bikes, apparently, as they amass an army of new rides to hunt down the suburban quartet. Unaware of Woody's actions, the group stop off in the small town of Madrid to enjoy the quiet life and sample their annual chilli festival. Del Fuegos, lead by Jack [Liotta], discover the hog's location and roll into town to challenge them; I don't know what they wanted exactly, at one point it was rape, then money, then their bikes but I think it was just to fight them. This becomes the battle that will not only define them but solve all their problems - told you it would be sheer madness and dumb luck.
The best comparison I can draw is Without A Paddle with the intentions of City Slickers; closely tied to the former, starring comedic names and coming up with little more than piss-poor dramatic elements and shit-in-a-bag gags. As I said, it's not a funny film but I couldn't help but giggle at a few things, mainly because of the actor (or possibly just the actor stuck in this movie; that drew a smile too). Other than the main cast, Liotta's performance of a badass biker is just his general, angry Henry Hill self, so nothing new or challenging there. Marissa Tomei, someone of whom I'm not exactly a fan, doesn't look bad for forty two but the script is so bland that it doesn't matter. The only other notable points are the brilliant Stephen Toblowsky as the weak-willed sheriff and the ever-glorious John C McGinley as the really homosexually-charged bike cop. Visually, there's nothing new or special, the same can be said for the score and soundtrack which largely consist of classic rock tunes. You may wonder why I haven't slated this film more, it's quite simple really - moives are relative, if I see a children's film, I will compare it to others and mark it out of ten in relation to it's goals and objectives (the same as I would for a Horror, Crime or Porn film) and despite all the flaws, at least it's not Norbit or Epic Movie. I can see this movie doing pretty well in the States and possibly grabbing media attention for a little while, on namesakes alone but it's not a good film and really won't live long past its cinematic release; coming soon to a discount bin near you!
4th May 2007
The Scene To Look Out For:
Macy was generally a sure-fire way of scoring a laugh or two; shallow, hollow laughs but still laughs. His back-and-forth banter was far better than his tired pratfalls:
Maggie - So you like chilli?
Dudley - Oh yeah. Not the hot stuff but if you put a nice mild turkey chilli in front of me? Oh yeah, I'm gonna eat it.
Maggie - Well, that's too bad because I want you to try mine but it's kinda hot.
Dudley - No, I'll try it. I like your kinda 'hot.' ...in your chilli ...the chilli hot ...food hot. That's the kinda hot I wanna kiss... eat.
Either that or Tim Allen eating a stick of butter and enjoying it... It's lard-time! You sick, fat weirdo.
I dunno, Kyle Gass had a cameo; wasn't especially funny or memorable but I like KG. Same could be said for Peter Fonda, who is doomed to play the Deus Ex Machina biker for all time. Whichever, you pick.
"This isn't freedom! This is the gas station! Built by the man, a prison for our souls!"
In A Few Words:
"The Americans call sausage rolls 'pigs in a blanket.' I kind of like that term (as stupid as it is) and see its close relation to this film; Wild Hogs: Pigs In Leather"