Strange Wilderness movie review: Trying to keep his father’s dream of a televised animal program afloat, Peter (Steve Zahn) is failing to maintain the show’s success, which has plummeted in the ratings. Faced with cancellation, Peter comes across a map to the home of Bigfoot. Seizing this opportunity, Peter and his crew (Justin Long, Ashley Scott, Peter Dante, Jonah Hill, Kevin Heffernan, and Allan Covert) race to the wilds of South America to find Bigfoot, filming their substantial misadventures along the way.
“Wilderness” is so one-dimensional, it’s alarming. It’s not so much a story, but a series of pot-clouded scenes scribbled down on toilet paper right before shooting. I can’t quite figure out what Wolf was aiming for with “Wilderness,” which gives the impression of a farcical breeze, yet the picture spends a lot of energy on gross-out gags and predictable non sequiturs. In better hands, “Wilderness” would’ve become another Sandler-approved dorm staple. Under Wolf’s command, the funny parts have to fight for their life to be enjoyed.
Of course, if you find bong hits, joy buzzers, and turkey fellatio hilarious, then perhaps sterilization is in order. Wolf pushes hard on cringingly unfunny ideas – an extended oral sex joke with the aforementioned turkey is a great example. Much like his writing, Wolf’s direction has no throttle, careening back and forth between pleasingly goofy comedy nuggets and aggressively inane material best left on the cutting room floor. Of course, of that blessed event occurred here, “Wilderness” would be about 20 minutes long. But those 20 minutes are funny, due to the casting of lovable fools (Hill, Dante, and Long) who seem to be enjoying themselves on a film set devoid of boundaries.
Putting Steve Zahn at the head of “Wilderness” is Wolf’s most clearly defined entertainment obstruction. Trying on his best Bobcat Goldthwait impression, Zahn is a tiresome gasbag of unfunny (a point made well in previous efforts), running around like someone tossed an ice cube down the back of his shirt. It’s a crime so much of the picture relies on his convulsive clenched delivery for giggles.
- Source: eFilmCritic
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