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Movie Reviews from a Christian Family Friendly Entertainment

Good Taste Is Endangered in Strange Wilderness

  • Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2008 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Good Taste Is Endangered in <i>Strange Wilderness</i>

DVD Release Date:  May 20, 2008 
Theatrical Release Date:
  February 1, 2008
Rating:  R (non-stop language, drug use, crude and sexual humor)
Genre:  Comedy
Run Time:  87 min.
Director:  Fred Wolf
Actors:  Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, Ashley Scott, Harry Hamlin, Justin Long, Allen Covert, Jeff Garlin

You know a movie’s exceptionally bad when its only redeeming quality was a relatively short running time. But even 87 minutes was much too long to suffer through a movie with less of a plot than your average Saturday Night Live sketch.

And when a movie’s short on storyline, well, you know what typically happens. The gags inevitably make their way to the gutter. With bottom-of-the-barrel laughs aimed squarely at the same adolescent males who liked Superbad, Strange Wilderness is a stoner comedy with little substance, style or anything resembling good taste.

Funnily enough, the movie starts off with a somewhat defined premise that seriously goes downhill in a hurry. Basically when Peter Gaulke’s (Steve Zahn) father, the much-beloved host of popular nature T.V. show, "Strange Wilderness," passes away, Peter decides to keep the program going in his honor (or maybe because no one else would probably hire someone who’s perpetually high on weed). But whatever Peter’s reasons, he knows he’s got a huge challenge on his hands.

Instead of making a concerted effort to keep the show’s integrity in tact, however, a slacker like Peter botches the basic facts (he says that bears got their name from a football team—hmmm) and favors topless footage of bimbos over the typical nature show material. Are you laughing yet?

And since T.V. execs are in the business of making money, it doesn’t take long for Peter’s antics to speedily catch up with him. In fact, only weeks later, his boss is threatening to shut "Strange Wilderness" down because of low ratings. Big surprise.

Then in a rather convenient turn of events, there’s a chance the show may be saved. When word arrives that a rival show has hightailed it to the Andes to locate Bigfoot, Peter and his motley crew of stoners make it their mission to capture the sacred footage first. After all, what bigwig T.V. guy could resist seeing footage of the much-fabled Bigfoot?

It’s here when it’s the most apparent that the scriptwriters ran out of something even remotely coherent to say. Even with the typically funny likes of Zahn, Justin Long and Jonah Hill onboard, the movie falls flat as the cast is forced to improv their way to the finish. And while that may have made for a couple of months of fun days at work for the actors, it’s an exercise in futility for anyone who expected more. But then again if you’d seen the trailer beforehand, you probably would’ve already guessed that.
      
CAUTIONS: 

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Characters are shown abusing drugs and alcohol during the majority of the movie.
  • Language/Profanity:  Constant profanity throughout including numerous instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Sex, included repeated homosexual references, is discussed frankly and crassly all throughout the film. There’s also female upper body nudity shown and a disturbing scene where a turkey bites a man’s genitals.
  • Violence:  When a man dresses like a sea otter and makes his way into the water, a shark attacks him, leaving a bloody mess. Other violent scenes are mostly played for laughs, save for some of the animal footage where certain species attack each other.