Strange Wilderness (2008)

Genre(s): Comedy
Paramount || R - 87 minutes - $29.99 || May 20, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-05-04


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Fred Wolf
Writer(s): Peter Gaulke & Fred Wolf (written by)
Cast: Steve Zahn, Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Ashley Scott, Allen Covert


Theatrical Release Date: February 1, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cooker's Song
  • The Turkey
  • What Do We Do?
  • Reel Comedy: Stranger Wilderness


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

(Synopsis) From Happy Madison Productions comes a comedy with bite. In order to save his wildlife TV Show from being canceled, dim-witted host Peter Gaulke (Steve Zahn) and his half-baked screw of misfits have one last chance to turn ratings around. Desperate to stay on the air, Peter hatches a plan to track down the most elusive beast on Earth - Bigfoot. But when the killer pygmies, frisky border guards and an amorous turkey threaten to cut their expedition short, the crew of "Strange Wilderness" will soon discover that nature is one bad mother.

I had hoped that Strange Wilderness was going to be a funny movie like the last Happy Madison film, Grandma's Boy, but I was wrong in so many ways. Letís start out with the good. Justin Long and Ashley Scott clearly outshine everyone else in the cast. Justin plays a typical stoner type character while Ashley plays the token female character that surprisingly does not sleep with any of the crew. I was almost dead sure she would be falling for Steve Zahn's character halfway through the film but she maintained her innocence with the crew.

Worth noting is Peter Dante once again appears in another Adam Sandler movie (Looking at his past, he seems to only appears in Adam Sandler things...period), and while he is only in a small portion of the film, he is hilarious. I wish they would have kept him around a bit longer.

And then thereís the bad: I usually really like the characters Jonah Hill plays in films. His performance in Superbad was easily one of the best comedic roles of 2007. In this film he appears to play an idiotic redneck who blabbers on and rarely makes any sense. His character could have completely been eliminated (as with half the cast as they served no purpose) from the film and no one would have noticed since he does nothing but sing. I wonder if Seth Rogan was too busy so he was replaced with his little brother, Jonah Hill?

Then we move on to some of the comedic gags. Throughout the film the characters are caught up in some wacky situations one of them being a part where Steve Zahn's character gets his penis somehow lodged into a turkeyís throat. Of course the only way to get the turkey off would be to pull it... so that's exactly what the rest of the characters do. However in doing so we are greeted with a "special effects" scene of Steve's penis being stretched like its Play-Doh. Did the film really have to go so slapstick on us? I know itís a comedy but even American Pie never resorted to doing silly effects like that. I won't even mention the throwing up into a sharkís mouth bit they did or the sewed up penis gag.

Overall I wouldn't want to watch this movie again. Grandma's Boy is easily one of my most watched DVD's I own, but this movie would have gone straight to DVD had it not been for the Adam Sandler Happy Madison Productions label at the top of the case. Itís not funny and becomes almost annoying at times to watch.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes (22:12) - 13 deleted (or alternate) scenes that were cut from the movie. Only one of them (Tattooed Boobs with Justin Long) is funny.

Cooker's Song (5:47) - A crudely shot rehearsal of Jonahs Hill's song he played in the movie.

The Turkey (6:45) - How the turkey in the film was made and various shots of the film being inserted in.

What Do We Do? (6:06) - I'm not even sure what this really is. It appears to be alternate versions of the scene were they discuss ways to pick up the ratings of the fictional TV Show.

Reel Comedy - Stranger Wilderness (21:14) - The meatiest extra on the disc is what appears to be a promotion video that aired on Comedy Central when the film was going into theaters. As with all of these it typically shows a few short interviews with clips of the movie mixed in. Itís like watching all the best parts of the movie in 21 minutes. Consider it the cliff notes for the movie.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Strange Wilderness is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Some portions of the movie were very dark, but for the most part it was an above average disc.

Paramount has packed a Dolby Digital 5.1 (English and Spanish) track as well as subtitles (English, French and Spanish). The film was very dialogue heavy, however several times the film takes us into the jungle or wild and the sounds of birds chirping and other noises were present. I did notice a little bit of buzz coming from the rear speakers a few times for no apparent reason.



.::OVERALL::.

As much as I loved Grandma's Boy and held out hope this would be even half as funny... Strange Wilderness fell flat on its face. It only got a few chuckles out of me and even those seemed almost forced. It would make a decent rental on a lazy Sunday afternoon but that's about it.