This sitcom-shallow comedy imagines itself as an amalgam of St. Elmo's Fire, The Wild Bunch, and Deliverance—or so says smarmy, hammy Woody (John Travolta), whose supermodel wife has left him bankrupt and homeless. It's Woody who convinces his pals (played by Tim Allen, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence) to ditch their day jobs for a week on the road, traveling from Ohio to California in strip-mall-purchased leather pants and perfectly polished Harleys. Wild Hogs, written by a man who's done some Arrested Development episodes and directed by the guy who made Van Wilder, also fancies itself a sorta-sequel to Easy Rider; hence the last-scene cameo from one of that movie's stars, who shows up to apologize for the bad behavior of a biker gang that's lost sight of what it means to "be free." In that respect, Wild Hogs would have you believe it's a successor to Albert Brooks' Lost in America, in which an adman ditches his comfortable, conformist existence to drop out and discover the countryside. But Brooks' film was a heartfelt send-up of the coddled yuppie who believes he was born to be wild. It was shot through with honest desperation, which made the jokes not only resonate but also redemptive. At least he knew he was being an ass.
Travolta: "Does this tight leather bondage outfit make me look gay?"
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., March 2. Rated PG-13. 100 minutes.