Movie Review for Strange Wilderness (2008)

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Review #610 of 365
Movie Review of Strange Wilderness (2008) [R] 87 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $3.00
Where Viewed: Harkins Ciné Capri at Northfield 18, Denver, CO
When Seen: 2 February 2008
Time: 1:25 pm
DVD Release Date: 19 August 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Directed by: Fred Wolf (debut)
Written by: Peter Gaulke (Ice Age: The Meltdown) • Fred Wolf (Without a Paddle)

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Steve Zahn (Rescue Dawn) • Allen Covert (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) • Jonah Hill (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) • Kevin Heffernan (Beerfest) • Ashley Scott (The Kingdom) • Peter Dante (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) • Harry Hamlin ("Veronica Mars") • Robert Patrick (Balls of Fury) • Joe Don Baker (The Dukes of Hazzard) • Blake Clark (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) • Justin Long (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) • Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") • Ernest Borgnine (Hoover )

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Click to read the spoiler points for Strange Wilderness
Strange Wilderness—something that plays out like it was hatched in the minds of people completely out of touch with reality at the time, written by supercilious teenagers with bonafide contempt for their intended audience, acted out by people whose careers were over 40 years ago (and some actually were), aged in a rotting cesspool, and then smeared on the screen as if to say, "We've got big bucks, we can make whatever we want, and you people will be dumb enough to pay your hard-earned money to watch it."--stands on track to be quickly forgotten as one of the worst, most mundane, deflating, and pointless films of the decade. It's even worse, that last year's tribute to nothingness, Beerfest—poor Kevin Heffernan apparently didn't get his fill of idiotic films and signed up for both. Written by Peter Gaulke and Fred Wolf and directed by Wolf, the film spews the tale of the son of a great wildlife show host who accepts the torch to carry the show after his father passes on. Only Peter (Steve Zahn) lacks a few things that would keep his father's "Strange Wilderness" show alive: (a) basic intelligence, (b) basic common sense, and (c) weren't (a) and (b) enough to pretty much sabotage anything? He and his 'crew' consisting of: Fred (Allen Covert) on the boom, Cooker (Jonah Hill) has no obvious job, Danny (Peter Dante) animal effects, and Milas (Ernest Borgnine) on camera, set out to film perturbing animal shows such as one about the bear--the dialogue for which they conceive at a bar the night before and scrawl on a cocktail napkin. It ends up containing one usable line, something about the tremendous number of salmon killed each year by bears and how few bears are killed by salmon. Peter attempts to record this one line over the bubbling sound effects of Jr.'s (Justin Long) water pipe—Jr. being the kin of Milas brought to the shoot with high hopes of impressing Peter and securing the boy a job. Oh, it only gets worse from here.

…on track to be quickly forgotten as one of the worst, most mundane, deflating, and pointless films of the decade.
Never has a film about nothing been so convinced that it's about something, so pleased with its own jokes, so enamored with its contrived characters and uninteresting, unfunny storyline. It's one thing to make a low-budget, low-brow comedy and hope it will recoup some coin in DVD sales, but this film will be lucky to make back the cost of the souped up RV that houses the "Strange Wilderness" 'crew' on their misadventure to capture footage of Big Foot which they believe will save their show, now running weekly at 3 a.m. from cancellation as promised by KPID station manager Ed Lawson.

With a travesty for a storyline, it's difficult to imagine how some decent actors were drawn to it. Steve Zahn gave the performance of his lifetime in Rescue Dawn opposite Christian Bale, and then mysteriously takes a virtual 180° turn with this film. Jonah Hill, was working so hard to proving himself to be the comedic everyman in films like Walk Hard, Superbad, and Evan Almighty, would probably never have been offered another role had this been his first film—something that could be said for any member of this cast actually. Ashley Scott plays the travel coordinator for "Strange Wilderness" as they venture to South America. She does so with a great degree of seriousness as if she hasn't read the script and doesn't know what's in store. Likewise for Justin Long and Allen Covert. If these two had a career path beyond their bit parts and Apple® Computer commercials they don't anymore. Then there are the mercy, end-of-the-line roles seemingly given out to let an old codger have one more chance in the spotlight. Ernest Borgnine? Joe Don Baker? What are these two doing lending any credibility to this cast list? And, where on earth was Adam Sandler whose Happy Madison company produced this film? Adam Sandler doing his old Halloween costume "spoon on my face" man was funnier than anything in this film. You'd think he would have terminated this film before it ever left the similar cocktail napkin on which it seems to have been written.

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Strange Wilderness (2008)
Cast Members
Steve ZahnAllen CovertJonah Hill
Kevin HeffernanAshley ScottPeter Dante
Harry HamlinRobert PatrickJoe Don Baker
Blake ClarkJeff Garlin
Fred Wolf
Peter GaulkeFred Wolf

Review-lite Strange Wilderness (2008) [max of 150 words]
Steer far, far clear of this relentlessly terrible, mind-numbingly awful film from Fred Wolf and Peter Gaulke (the director and co-writers as well as their self-referential characters in the film). Strange Wilderness is on par for the award as worst film of the decade and one that defined the drought that has been the WGA strike of 2007-08.

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