I’m going to start this movie review by stating what may not be so obvious due to the cast of actors starring in it: Strange Wilderness is not a movie for everyone. Actually it’s not a movie for 90% of the worlds’ population either. It is meant for individuals with a sophomoric sense of humor and the ability to just not give a shit about anything (mostly stoners and retards). If you don’t feel you belong in this super-exclusive club, then stop reading now; this movie is definitely not for you. For me, although I’m not a stoner and certainly don’t see myself as a retard (I think my wife does though), I watch these senseless movies as a way to clear away the cobwebs (it’s much cheaper than going on a vacation). If you’re even remotely like me, read on then, this movie may be just what the doctor ordered to snap you out of your funk.
Strange Wilderness stars a few of the usual suspects you’d expect to see in an Adam Sandler project (Happy Madison Productions), plus a few other actors from other comedy troupes thrown in for good measure. It’s also got itself a moronic plot – another staple of a Sandler flick. Steve Zahn is Peter Gaulke and Allen Covert is Fred Wolf, the men behind an outdoor adventures television show called Strange Wilderness. Times have been tough for the show and with steadily declining numbers at the 3:00AM timeslot, they’re told they’ll be off the air in two weeks if they can’t bring in something incredible. So along with a map provided to them by Bill Calhoun (Joe Don Baker), their friends and crew – Cooker (Jonah Hill), Danny Guiterrez (Peter Dante), Junior (Justin Long), Cheryl (Ashley Scott) and Whitaker (Kevin Heffernan) – race off to the South America to capture footage of the elusive Bigfoot before their nemesis Sky Pierson (Harry Hamlin) of a competing wilderness show gets it first.
Filling in the air time of this wacky premise are nonstop vulgarities (worse than Superbad, pervasive drug use (not as bad as Half-Baked) and some of the most infantile attempts at humor not seen since the misunderstood Freddy Got Fingered. I don’t think there is any other way to put it, but I firmly believe that the writers (Peter Gaulke and Fred Wolf) were completely wasted when they wrote this. How can a clearly functioning mind come up with a scene where a guys gets his dick stuck in the throat of a turkey? I’ll also bet the farm that everyone in this movie was inebriated in some form or fashion too. There just isn’t a way for seasoned actors to not realize how completely absurd the movie was when they read the script or, at the very least, when they showed up on the set for the first day of shooting. I also have to take note on the massive grins on everyone’s faces; the only people that have that look are those with chemical imbalances – either natural or synthetic.
So yeah, while it sounds like I’m just dumping on Strange Wilderness for it’s lack of moral compass, I’m really not. I can’t argue around the fact that the movie is just plain stupid but it does have a lot of moments where I found myself laughing out loud. A great many of these laughs can be found from the voice overs they do for their segments. While my writing them here won’t do them justice, quips like “Slice me a off a piece of pie and serve it up hot, I’m next in line” dubbed over a segment of lions mating and “When a shark appears, sea lions jump ashore – luckily there aren’t any tigers waiting for them, otherwise they wouldn’t know what the fuck to do” voiced while watching a pack of sea lions, should give you an idea as to how idiotic these guys are. Throw in some equally bizarre scenes: one with Robert Patrick deep in the jungle (that is so obviously a studio backlot) and another in a cave with Bigfoot (which obviously looks like a guy in an ape suit) and your monthly allotment for zaniness should just about be reached.
It’s safe to assume Strange Wilderness isn’t going to be winning any awards (I believe I am the only critic with sense of humor sick enough to get it) and it will soon find itself out of your local cineplex’s rotation. Don’t fret if it isn’t playing near you though, I’ll guarantee this film be so much better on DVD – I can only imagine what was left on the cutting room floor. My hope is these extras will put this movie so over the top, that the R-rating it currently enjoys won’t nearly be enough to capture all the crude and lewd humor missing from the theatrical release.