Strange Wilderness

 
(i)

 

Unfunny "comedy" is crude, profane, drug-filled.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Peter has a soft heart, but he's also lazy, obnoxious, and crude. He lies and does whatever is necessary to get what he wants, and he's chauvinistic and prejudiced, too (women are treated as sex objects, and Mexicans' speech is mocked). His competitor belittles him, and his crew clearly doesn't respect him. But it's apparent that Peter is proud of his father and wants to save his legacy. And buried somewhere amid the bad jokes is a message about the value of friendship.

Violence

Clips of vultures feasting on a dead zebra's head; friends take a swing at each other; a man regales a crowd with stories of why his private parts are mangled; a TV crew is killed, with one man's torso cut in half (the scene is played for laughs); a man hits another with a frying pan; scenes of people attacked at sea, with the water turning bloody.

Sex

Lots of crude jokes about sex and body parts; one scene shows bare-breasted women dancing; a man's mangled genitalia are shown up close; scenes of animals mating; a turkey fastens its beak onto a man's genitals; a camera catches a man having sex with someone else's wife; countless jokes about the name "Dick."

Language

A blue streak. There's a constant barrage of "f--k" (and "motherf--ker"), "bitch," "s--t," "a--hole," and more.

Consumerism

The logo for the fictional TV station that airs Peter's show, KPIP, is clearly visible a few times, as is the one for his show (also named Strange Wilderness).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of scenes of characters smoking marijuana (sometimes with bongs). One character is an alcoholic. A trip turns into a free-for-all when everyone inhales nitrous.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this over-the-top gross-out comedy from Adam Sandler's production company is riddled with crude jokes, some of which are (most likely quite intentionally) offensive: Characters make fun of how Mexicans speak and talk about women as if they're nothing more than sex objects. Even animals are sexualized (yuck). There's some nudity -- random women dancing bare-breasted in thongs and close-ups of male genitalia -- and frequent drug use (particularly marijuana). The characters swear a blue streak, especially favoring "f--k" and derivations thereof).

What's the story?

Wildlife expert Peter Gaulke's (Steve Zahn) nature show -- which he inherited from his TV legend dad -- is on the brink of cancellation. His crew is made up of stoners, and his knowledge of animal life is dubious at best (sample voiceover: "Bears are a proud people, though they aren't people per se"). But he has one last shot to save the show: A can't-miss episode that will win over his station manager (Jeff Garlin). Enter flimsy plot device: A tipster says he's spotted Bigfoot and can lead Peter to where the creature lives. If Peter manages to catch the legend in action, the show is saved.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The biggest mystery in STRANGE WILDERNESS isn't whether the crew will ever find Bigfoot (viewers will likely be way past caring by the time that plot point is resolved). It's how producers managed to wrangle a fairly good cast and still turn out such a dud. There's no storytelling, and the jokes are lifeless or just plain bad. Consider this: The film's "highlight" is a gag that has a turkey clinging to Peter's private parts with its beak.

Zahn has potential. He's slacker-sleepy and likable, delivering jokes without overselling them. But his insouciant charm sadly does him no good in this lackluster comedy. Really, he deserves so much better, and Judd Apatow muse Jonah Hill, who plays Peter's assistant, ought to have steered clear as well.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Hollywood is motivated to produce gross-out comedies. What's their appeal? Why are some successful (and actually funny), while others fall flat? What makes a good comedy? When does humor fall under the category of "in poor taste"? Who determines what counts as "bad taste" to begin with?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 1, 2008
DVD release date:May 19, 2008
Cast:Allen Covert, Jonah Hill, Steve Zahn
Director:Fred Wolf
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:non-stop language, drug use, crude and sexual humor.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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