Thursday, February 7, 2008

Strange Wilderness

The acting. And the writing. In this movie. Was like, totally, completely, so, stiff. And bad. And junk. Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. I feel a tad bit dumber listening to people talk like that for the past hour and a half. I'm a little perturbed by this movie. The trailer actually looked really funny. I was expecting it to be an idiotic, but sharp and quotable movie. I guess they fooled me, because the only funny moments were found in the trailer.

I'm not even sure where to begin. The premise was actually promising. Steve Zahn plays Peter Balke, the host of the titular wilderness show. In a last ditch effort to keep the show from being canceled, he leads his band of mentally deficient crew members in a search for Bigfoot. The rest of the cast consists of Allen Covert, Jonah Hill, Kevin Hefferman, Peter Dante, Justin Long, and even Ernest Bornigne (I didn't know he was still alive either). All of these characters were poorly executed in their unique ways. Zahn is an alumnus from a whole slew of terrible comedies (somehow managing to wrangle a part in Rescue Dawn). Covert has ridden the coat-tails of Adam Sandler, scoring supporting roles in almost every single one of his movies since Airheads. Hefferman achieved success with his Broken Lizards group in Super Troopers, but never anything since. Dante is another Sandler crony, Long has his own resume of B comedies, and Hill (probably the funniest of the bunch) just spews bizarrely random lines. Sorry to spend so much time on the cast, but I just wanted to give you an idea of the caliber of actors we're dealing with.

I can't blame the cast entirely, though. The script is just awful. In an apparent attempt to conceal that there is no rhythm whatsoever to the piece, many of the scenes are intercut with nature footage, and Zahn's babbling voice-overs. When you take horribly written lines delivered by a horribly stiff cast, you get Strange Wilderness.

There was one enjoyable scene. Jess Garlin plays the head of the network, and in a brief meeting, informs Zahn and Covert that they are being canceled. He summed up the movie perfectly when he said "What the hell was that?" Garlin seemed to be the only voice of reason in the entire movie. I was wrestling with whether to give this a zero or not. It could certainly warrant it, but I only save zeros for the absolute worst of the worst. Strange Wilderness was not as bad as Meet the Spartans, for example. My decision was cemented by not one, but two separate jokes and graphic shots involving deformed genitalia.


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