Wild Hogs Walt Becker

Gay panic is a mainstay of bad, brightly lit comedy but there are limits for tolerance in even that iniquitous genre, thus Wild Hogs’ constant harping on the topic is a little more than the casual viewer can take.

The film is ostensibly about the midlife crisis of four male clichés: Tim Allen (a tamed family man), John Travolta (with a failed marriage/career), Martin Lawrence (a henpecked husband) and William H. Macy (a tongue-tied nebbish), all of whom try to prove that they still have an edge by riding their choppers to the coast. Unfortunately for us, the issue of manliness inevitably brings up the concept of non-manliness (i.e., homosexuality), thus the standard innuendo extends to a lascivious motorcycle cop (a slumming John C. McGinley) and the repeated, unpleasant abuse of Macy’s pathetic girly man character.

By the time they’ve raised the ire of a real biker gang (headed by a miscast Ray Liotta), the level of hostility has blown whatever good cheer might have been intended. Of course, we’ve also been inundated by a consistently low level of wit and non-existent style courtesy of director Walt Becker. Travolta and Macy constantly remind us that they’re too good for this shit. Meanwhile, Allen reminds us why he’s doomed to this kind of domestic uplift and Lawrence reminds us how completely annoying one human being can be.

Long story short, the film is uninteresting when it’s not being offensive and likely to be forgotten by this time next year. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)