Strange Wilderness (2008)
I was watching Moon with a couple of people when one of them had to leave for a bit. The other guy and I started to look around on the Internet and saw that Adam Sandler’s lowest rated film was Strange Wilderness. I happened to have a copy on hand, so as we waited for our third companion to return, we decided to watch it.
Strange Wilderness is a gross-out comedy released in 2008 with a hodgepodge of comedic actors from the supporting cast of Adam Sandler films and some others like Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, Kevin Heffernan, and Justin Long. Zahn leads these men, his film crew, as they try to track down Bigfoot in an effort to save their failing nature show.
One thing clear is that this film is dumb. Its humor consists mostly of things that are gross (there’s a close-up on a mangled penis) and the cast yelling stupidly. The entire cast. None of these characters are unique or have any kind of personality – they just yell. And make bad jokes.
Steve Zahn leads the pack, and while his naive stupidity garners a few laughs here and there, the majority of his performance is more irritating than humorous. Allen Covert, star of the hilarious Grandma’s Boy, is practically his second-in-command, but I couldn’t really tell you anything unique that he does. He’s just another semi-recognizable face to bring “humor”. Jonah Hill is at his absolute, all-time worst here. He was possibly the least funniest character in the entire film – I don’t think I laughed a single time that he spoke. The person I watched this with kept asking what Hill’s problem was. Apparently Hill wrote his part for the movie, so I guess that was what his problem was. Let’s all collectively agree never to let Jonah Hill pen anything else ever, okay?
The other cast members just do what they always do, and rarely are funny doing it. Justin Long is a stoner – huge surprise. He actually had some good instances of comedy, like when he tattoos eyeballs onto his lids, but it’s nothing new or original. Peter Dante acts like an amiable but idiotic “bro”, and Kevin Heffernan plays the role of an excited newcomer to the group. Ashley Scott plays an entirely useless and formulaic female character – she has to go along for the ride, looks like she’ll be a tight ass and a wet blanket on the guys’ activities, and then ends up being cool. I’m guessing they just included her so the entire cast wouldn’t be males. I guess they didn’t realize how many other problems the script had.
Like the scene in which everyone stands around laughing and making jokes because Blake Clark’s name is “Dick”. You wouldn’t believe that someone would write a film where a bunch of grown men laugh at a common name because it happens to also mean “penis”, but that’s the kind of well thought-out humor Strange Wilderness has to offer. The film hits its all time low when Steve Zahn is attached by a turkey and gets his penis stuck in the turkey’s throat. There’s a whole making-of featurette on the DVD about this scene, which makes me suspect that the filmmakers thought it was hilarious, but really, it just serves as the point in the film when you realize there will be no redemption and that you’ve wasted this time of your life.
The first ten minutes of the film had me laughing more than I’d like to admit, but afterward it just got progressively stupider and less and less funny. One exception is a cameo by Robert Patrick, who plays his part with such welcome seriousness as compared to the audacious stupidity everyone else is emitting that it ends up being very funny. Other than his small role, the funniest instances might be when Zahn narrates incorrect or irrelevant facts over real footage of nature, but they must have realized that this was funny since it gets overdone and ends up as tired and worn out as all of the other humor in the movie. The fact that they blatantly steal the “got knocked the f*** out” line from Friday is borderline offensive.
The movie looks and feels like a low-budget video done by a group of jackasses who thought they were being funny. This becomes crystal clear when you see Bigfoot and realize that they didn’t even try with the costume. I guess they had to spend all their budget on the CGI shark that predictably bites off Dante’s hand near the end. No, I didn’t give you a spoiler warning, because you shouldn’t be seeing this movie in the first place.
Unless you are the single biggest fan of Happy Madison and want to see usually minor actors in bigger roles, there is no reason to see this. The whole film is an excuse for these B-grade (or worse) comedy actors to run around and act like morons unrestrained. Perhaps 10% of the jokes are funny, 20% if you want to be extremely generous (and watch the movie under the influence of a substance or two). And if you’re a Jonah Hill fan, avoid this at all costs, because this will shatter your illusions. The movie is horrible, yes, but I can’t possibly stress how bad Hill is. Thankfully he’s not the lead actor in this atrociously stupid movie. Unfortunately, the lead actors – and everything else about this movie – aren’t much better.
Final rating: 2.5/10
–James A. Janisse
This entry was posted on February 2, 2010 by James A. Janisse. It was filed under 2 - 2.5, Comedy, Genre, Ratings and was tagged with adam sandler, allen covert, ashley scott, blake clark, fred wolf, jonah hill, justin long, kevin heffernan, peter dante, robert patrick, steve zahm.