Wild Hogs follows four middle-aged Ohio men who aren't so much facing a midlife crisis as they are running away from it. They're used to drowning out the stress of home and work with the roar of their motorcycles. Idealizing themselves as a gang of road-savvy Wild Hogs, they ride abreast through Cincinnati wearing leather jackets and bomber goggles, looking like extras from Marlon Brando's The Wild One. Their biggest problem is learning to bump knuckles without dumping their bikes.
Well, not quite the biggest. Once wildly successful, Woody is broke and about to be divorced by his swimsuit-model wife. Bobby is grudgingly returning to work as a plumber after taking time off to pursue a writing career that went nowhere. Doug, a dentist, has been reduced to eating lettuce for dinner in a desperate bid to subdue his bad cholesterol. And Dudley is still single and impossibly nerdy (as defined by his new Apple logo tattoo). Then there's the problem with their biker street-cred, a matter raised indelicately by the tat- and bandana-sporting types who frequent the real-deal biker bars. "We're more like wild lambs," laments Woody.
The lights seem to come on, however, when Woody pitches the idea of a motorcycle road trip to the West Coast, a guys-only venture in the tradition, he explains curiously, of "Deliverance ... The Wild Bunch ... St. Elmo's Fire."
And they're off! On their westward trek, the four encounter—and tangle with—a (real) gang of biker baddies known up and down the New Mexico highway as the Del Fuegos. They also have to give the slip to an amorous cop and figure out how to avoid dive-bombing birds and dastardly thundershowers—not to mention overcoming their own cluelessness. When they finally end up in Madrid, N.M., they stage their last stand, as it were, while Dudley falls head over heels for local waitress Maggie.
These Wild Hogs are notable for their camaraderie. And it's not always a shallow one, either. Over the years they've forged relationships that consist of more than poker and sports.
There's some doubt that the road trip actually does any good beyond male bonding. As for how it affects their families, at best Doug's wife begins thinking he's "hot" again, and Bobby finally works up the courage to tell his bossy and condescending wife firmly but gently that "he's tired of being talked at."
In facing off against the Del Fuegos, the Hogs learn to face their fears. The notorious Fuegos could easily double for any of the problems they encounter back in the real world, and it's suggested that their renewed confidence could serve them well there. The Hogs also serve as inspirational figures to the townsfolk of Madrid, who have long backed down under the tyranny of the biker gang.
After their tent burns to the ground, the Hogs sleep outside, huddling together for warmth. The aforementioned amorous cop arrives on the scene to leer at them (Dudley is in his underwear) and threaten them with a citation for "four counts of indecent exposure ... one count of pure jealousy"). Then he lets loose a string of overt double entendres while trying to invite himself into their "gang." He shows up again when the Hogs go skinny-dipping. Several shots of him undressing feature rear nudity. (One is a close-up.) We also see Dudley's derriere. It's played for laughs, of course, when the men's antics scare away a picnicking family.
At Madrid's chili cook-off, a male singer dances and prances onstage in an exaggeratedly effeminate way—in a gag that gets extended mileage. In all, conversations are (sometimes crudely) scripted to make you think at least four of the film's characters are gay. At a café, Dudley inadvertently opens a series of porn links related to "unconventional sex" (read: bestiality) on his laptop.
Other jokes and comments revolve around arousal, condoms, homosexual rape and sexual anatomy. Dudley and Maggie kiss and discuss the possibility of getting a hotel room. Maggie wears a tight shirt, the top few buttons undone. Posters featuring pinup girls are prominently featured during a scene in Woody's house. The film concludes with the guys (and the camera) eyeballing bikini-clad women at the beach.
Woody reveals a serious character flaw when he decides to pay back the Fuegos by cutting their bikes' gas lines—which leads to an explosion that destroys their bar. The final showdown turns into an all-out brawl, complete with martial-arts kicks, face punches, head bashes, body slams, broken glass, etc. Townsfolk arm themselves with baseball bats and axes, but things never go quite that far. Dudley, though, is bound with duct tape and strung up from a tree limb. (Blood isn't usually seen, but does appear occasionally.)
The Fuegos' mercurial leader, Jack, hits fellow bikers, throws a chair through a window and shoves a man after taking his cell phone. He says of the Hogs, "I want to feel their bones break under my fist."
A cartoonish encounter with a rampaging bull sends two Hogs flying skyward. Jacka-- star Johnny Knoxville would think the prank (slapping the bull) is too tame, but it's nonetheless dangerous—and begging to be copied.
Dudley crashes his bike several times. Doug takes a softball to the groin. A Fuego is kicked in the groin. A joke is made of a deputy's ear having been shot off.
Crude or Profane Language
The s-word is trotted out about a dozen times; "a--" close to 30 times. Jesus' name is abused once or twice; God's more than that. "B--ch," "d--n," "h---" and "p---" bring the tally to more than 70. Woody makes an obscene gesture, and a racial epithet makes it into the script.
Drug and Alcohol Content
There's a whole lotta drinkin' goin' on at the Del Fuegos' bar. And there's more social drinking at the chili cook-off. After Bobby stands up to two Fuegos, the Hogs and locals celebrate with a beer bash. Doug chugs from a pitcher. In a send-up of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Fuegos have their bar rebuilt and win a "year's supply of free beer." Wine is part of dinner at Doug's house. Doug reminisces about how he used to "get high a lot." Several characters smoke cigarettes.
Other Negative Elements
Beyond Woody's act of malicious sabotage at the bar (which he then lies about), the Hogs also run away from responsibility when they accidentally break a truck's windshield. Woody and Doug destroy each other's cell phones.
Bobby's teenage daughter gives him some serious lip. (He's upset because she's dressed like an "Eskimo hooker," but he seems incapable of doing anything about it.) Similarly, Doug's son would rather do anything than spend time with his lame dad. The Hogs sometimes bad-mouth their wives, and Bobby deceives his by lying about the road trip. Woody gets into an "I hate you!" shouting match with the boy doing his yard work. The boy calls him a "moron." AC/DC benefits from free advertising via a T-shirt.
The Hogs are shown urinating on the side of the road. (The camera is behind them.) They talk and joke about constipation, "peeing" and other such things. Dudley carries his excrement in a bag. Bird droppings splatter on Doug's face.
Wild Hogs promises to take moviegoers on a fun ride with the wind in their hair. It tries to offer up messages about overcoming fear and standing up for your friends. But it ends up leaving you picking bugs out of your teeth. At a key moment, Woody yells, "Ride hard, or stay home." Some choice.
Welcome to the new, uniquely 21st-century family comedy—so what if it's not rated G? S-words. Sabotage. Gay gags. Nudity. Sequences of genuinely funny laugh lines, a clever twist on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ("Move the bus!") and even Tim Allen himself weren't nearly enough to distract us from the fact that the sneak-peek showing we attended was crammed with kids. And their parents. And their friends. And their friends' parents. Who brought whom to watch this stuff? And why wasn't anybody leaving, say, after about the 10th s-word and the second naked backside? Right. Because everybody was too busy guffawing over jokes about bestiality, S&M grannies and bags of feces. This is the new family comedy, remember? Come for the goofy midlife crises. Stay for the lingering shots of bikini-clad California girls. No reason to leave. Lots to see here ...
Movies don't have to be loaded with deeply profound and spiritual life lessons to be good. Sometimes you just want to sit back and laugh with some poor schmo who's pretending to be a biker. But while Larry, Mo and Curly fell down a lot and poked each other, Woody, Doug, Bobby and Dudley swear, brawl, get naked and burn down a bar.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
John Travolta as Woody Stevens; Tim Allen as Doug Madsen; Martin Lawrence as Bobby Davis; William H. Macy as Dudley Frank; Ray Liotta as Jack; Marisa Tomei as Maggie; Jill Hennessy as Kelly Madsen
Jeremy LeesSteven Isaac