Strange Wilderness Movie Review

Take the second-tier crew from both Adam Sandler's posse (Allen Covert, Peter Dante) and Judd Apatow's regulars (Jonah Hill, Justin Long) and throw them together in a comedic spin on a Wild Kingdom type set and what do you get? A few chuckles rolled in with a lot of gross-out humor.

Steve Zahn headlines the directorial debut of Joe Dirt screenwriter Fred Wolf, playing Peter Gaulke, the stoner son of a famous Crocodile Hunter-like dad whose show Strange Wilderness was once a mega-hit. After dad died and Peter took over, things went downhill, with Peter turning in episodes punctuated by absurd narration and questionable nature... unless you count girls flashing their breasts in the shrubs behind the office building "nature." Peter defends the segment, of course, claiming them to be "natives."

And so you get the general tone of Strange Wilderness, a kind of Girls Gone Wild for those too embarassed to actually buy one of those shows on DVD. The film is absolutely loaded with gross-out humor, the lowlight being a segment in which Peter somehow gets his penis lodged in the throat of a turkey, its wings still flapping while it refuses to let go.

Such events are pretty much par for the course on Wilderness's adventure, which finds Peter and his ultra-incompetent crew trekking through uncharted territory south of the border in search of Bigfoot. The scene where they actually find him is one of the film's few unexpected highlights, though I won't spoil it here for fear that you'll have nothing to enjoy if you end up stumbling across Wilderness on cable one day.

Players like Hill, Long, and Zahn have natural comedic ability, but there's honestly not much they can do with such weak material. It's bittersweet to see old guard heroes like Ernest Borgnine and even Harry Hamlin make appearances here, but the dialogue they're given is so flat it really makes you long for another scene where the guys drink to excess and then vomit into a shark's mouth. True story.

The DVD includes deleted scenes and a few making-of featurettes.

That way to the vomitorium.


Strange Wilderness Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2008


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