Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first saw the previews for Strange Wilderness, I had no idea what it was really about. However, there were some pretty funny promos such as the stoner who has fake eyes tattooed over his eyelids to make other people think he’s awake during meetings when he’s really taking a nap. Then there was the snaggletooth shark with the guffaw voiceover. For some reason, that shark scene was what decided it for us – we rented Strange Wilderness as our comedy of the night.
The movie revolves around Peter Gaulke (Steven Zahn), who takes over the family business after his father passes away. Dad was a television wildlife show host, whose extensive knowledge about wildlife and ability to roll with the punches made his show extremely successful in the ratings. Unfortunately, try as he might, Peter is nothing like his father. With a crew that is more concerned with getting stoned than actually filming a valid wildlife television series and his complete lack of knowledge regarding nature, Peter is destined to fail. The show’s ratings tank and the network threatens to can the series. Worse, the network wants to replace the show with that of a longtime rival.
Luck is on Peter’s side though as a friend offers to sell him a map to the lair of the infamous Bigfoot. If Peter is to save the show that was his father’s pride and joy, he has to find Bigfoot and get some primo footage of the creature. But he must do so before his ruthless rival, Sky Pierson (Harry Hamlin). Armed with his crew and a travel guide named Cheryl (Ashley Scott), Peter sets out to Ecuador in search of Bigfoot on a journey packed with pitfalls and mishaps.
Sounds like it might be funny, right? Well, perhaps if you were a stoner, you might find a tad more humor in the film. Not being a stoner myself, I had a hard time watching this movie. There were a couple of funny scenes – those mentioned in the beginning of the article and one involving a wild turkey – but other than that, I felt as if the humor in this film is geared toward those with the mental capacity of a squid. Well, actually, I really don’t think I can offend a squid that way – it’s just not fair.
I expected a lot more from a movie from Happy Madison Productions, Adam Sandler's movie production company. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed in Strange Wilderness, I could not even bring myself to watch the DVD extras which include a couple of documentaries, deleted scenes and promos. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit in front of the screen any longer while the Strange Wilderness DVD was still in the player. I felt like I had just lost a huge amount of brain cells and had to get away before I lost any more.
Looking for a comedy you can watch completely sober and enjoy immensely? Well, whatever you do, steer clear of Strange Wilderness. Oh, and a message to Hollywood – have a little more respect for your audience! We’re not all a bunch of drugged out morons. Stop producing hundreds of stoner films and give us a little comedic entertainment that doesn’t involve drinking or doing drugs!