Saturday, February 02, 2008


Review by Michael Jaffe

By writing a review of STRANGE WILDERNESS I am doing something that really shouldn’t be attempted: intellectualizing this film. And by using the word “film” I am probably overdoing it again. STRANGE WILDERNESS is a collection of scenes filmed with reckless abandon, some of which are hysterical because of their obvious spontaneity and some which make you stare slack jawed at your neighbor as if to ask “is this movie real?” That this is a major release really is a testament to Adam Sandler’s power in Hollywood because this is exactly like GRANDMA’S BOY. There are a lot of Sandler cronies floating around, being high and doing ridiculous shit that is just like what any other 20-year-old stoners would do except more extreme.
The basic premise for STRANGE WILDERNESS is that Peter Gaulke (played by Steve Zahn) and Fred Wolf (Allen Covert of GRANDMA’S BOY) make a wilderness show called “Strange Wilderness” except that it sucks and will get cancelled if they can’t get something for better ratings. Then an old friend shows up and says for 1000 dollars they can buy a map that takes them to Ecuador and a cave where big foot lives. Hilarity ensues. The plot and the series of events that ensues makes so little sense you will cause yourself sever damage if you try to understand what is transpiring. The characters are all very odd and all the faces involved (Zahn, Covert, Kevin “FARVA!” Heffernan, Justin “HI, I’m a Mac” Long, Jonah “the fat kid from SUPERBAD” Hill and Ernest “I’m 90 and have an Oscar. Why am I in this” Borgnine) are well known and relatively respected comedians who have done much better work in other films and apparently were offered a million dollars each to shoot in Disney land’s fake jungle for 2 weeks and smoke a lot of weed with producer Sandler. Justin Long is surprisingly hilarious as a guy who really has smoked himself retarded and isn’t giving up his favorite herb anytime soon.
There really is about 60 minutes of real movie here and then just a lot of sidetracked insanity. There is nitrous oxide inhalation, body paint, weird tattoos, lots of weird fake penises, a boob, lots of stupid jokes and actually a few spots where I laughed out loud. I am not sure you should see this movie without any type of substance, but I did and I FELT high when I walked out of the theatre. It truly is an unbelievable feat that this film in its current state was made and released to the public.
I laughed and gaped in astonishment and just about had one of the more enjoyable times at the movies I have had in a while. With terribly low expectations going in, the stupid, lowbrow humor was exactly what I was expecting except more. With such films as NARNIA and NATIONAL TREASURE making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, dumbing the masses, I am glad films like STRANGE WILDERNESS still exist where reasonably intelligent youths can go and forget about the horror that is real life and seriousness (fuck you Hillary, I’m voting for Barack). If a viewer can accept that this is a piece of shit film, it really becomes a hilarious, R-rated episode of the live action SIMPSONS with dumber writers and more innuendo. Its nuts. You’ll love it. 6/10 sober, 11/10 when fucked up.

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