May 31, 2008
Review - " Strange Wilderness " (on DVD) - By Roland Hansen
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Directed by Fred Wolf
Written By Peter Gaulke & Fred Wolf
Starring: Steve Zhan, Jonah Hill, Allen Covert, Ashley
Scott, Kevin Heffernan
Mr. Zahn’s character is named after Peter Gaulke, a
screenwriter and former writer for “Saturday Night Live.”
Mr. Covert’s character, a sound man, is named after
Fred Wolf, who is making his directorial debut with
“Strange Wilderness” and is also a former “SNL” writer.
Mr. Wolf and Mr. Gaulke wrote the screenplay.
On paper this one would seem to have something going
for it. For one, it has some decent cast members.
Secondly, it has two top notch comedy writers AND it
has Happy Madison behind it. Yes, as goofy and
childlike as Adam Sandler can be, one would think that
he would know which scripts were the right ones to
back. Having now seen Strange Wilderness I can report that it is not worth seeing, despite the talent it contains. It belongs in
the same bin as Blades of Glory, Hot Rod and Crapic Movie.
Steve Zahn can do better than this. He stars as Peter Gaulke, the inept, pot-smoking host of a nature show that he inherited
from his father and allowed to degenerate into a ready-for-cable-access shadow of its former self. When Gaulke’s employer
(Jeff Garlin), the boss of a Nature Channel-type network, threatens to cancel the series, Gaulke loads up his Winnebago with
camera equipment and deranged, intoxicated, seemingly incompetent crew members and drives to the jungles of South
America in search of Bigfoot.
From the production team that brought you "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison" comes
this foul-mouthed "nature" comedy. Steve Zahn, sporting his best burned-out surfer dude
drawl, leads a ragtag crew of wasted nature documentarians.. Constantly being rousted for
their drunken ineptitude and ill-informed voiceover narrations, the boys need a break to boost
their ratings and Bigfoot might be it. All they have to do is remember to load the camera and
not get eaten (especially by a certain turkey). Allen Covert, SUPERBAD's Jonah Hill, Justin
Long, and Kevin Heffernan are the crew. Harry Hamlin is a rival bigfoot tracker. Ashley Scott
(Into the Blue) provides the ubiquitous foxy babe interest. Ernest Borgnine, Robert Patrick,
and Joe Don Baker show up in bit parts. A sort of low-rent Life Aquatic, Wilderness is such a
fall-down farce that viewers might forget they're not cracking jokes while watching Animal Planet
with their friends instead of seeing a real movie, but maybe that's a good thing. Former SNL
writer Fred Wolf directs, keeping it as ramshackle and rough around the edges as the law will
allow. "Strange Wilderness" may not be pretty, but it earns some laughs through its sheer
What follows is bong humor, a mobile hippie love-in sparked by nitrous oxide, an encounter with a deranged survivalist
Vietnam veteran (Robert Patrick) who proudly shows off his mutilated testicles, several lame acoustic guitar numbers
performed by Mr. Hill that make you wish you were watching a Jack Black movie instead, piranha and shark attacks played for
laughs, and an unprintable audacious gag that puts a turkey in a compromising position.
Underachieving even by the standards of stoner comedies, there are a few good laughs and one very cute babe but it's not
enough to save this penis gobbling turkey of a movie, this is one film to miss.
I had high hopes for this film even though I knew it was going to be a silly comedy, but I was sadly disappointed. You wont
have to walk out, you'll just wish you had.