Written by Puño Estupendo
Actor Steve Zahn can add another mediocre movie to his already impressive list of unimpressive films. Strange Wilderness does have some great ingredients to it when you look at it on paper though. First-time director Fred Wolf was a writer for Saturday Night Live, it's under Adam Sandler's umbrella of Happy Madison productions, and it has a cast that's fairly talented if not charismatic. Steve Zahn is easily the most likable guy in the movie but he's still not engaging enough to lift this flick up from a C to a B (A is not even on the table for this one). Seems to be a recurring theme for Zahn. I generally enjoy his performances but his flicks end up very lackluster, and Strange Wilderness is no exception.
Zahn plays the slightly dimwitted son of a television nature show host. With his father now dead, Peter (Zahn) struggles to keep his father's show on the air as it's host. His crew consists of more likable people: Adam Sandler regulars Allen Covert and Peter Dante (Grandma's Boy), Justin Long (Waiting and Dodgeball), Kevin Heffernan (Farva from Super Troopers), Ernest Borgnine, Jonah Hill (Superbad), and even the "Hot Blonde" in the form of Ashley Scott. Of course they're facing cancellation and have three weeks to get a "big idea" and keep themselves on the air. Well what could be bigger for a nature show than to get footage of Bigfoot? Yup, it's pretty ridiculous. The jokes are predictably low-brow, and there's lots of chuckles to be had, but it never quite puts you over the top with solid laughs. There are a couple of scenes that pull no punch for their effect, which is cool, but it's overall level of wit stays in the midrange.
With a running time of 87 minutes, you'll have plenty of time to check out some of the extras. There are the usual chunk of deleted scenes/outtakes etc., and a Comedy Central fluff piece with cast interviews. No big deal, pretty standard stuff but that's not necessarily all bad. This is a "set it and forget it" kind of movie, just put it in your DVD player for a bunch of chuckles and a fun cast, but take comfort in the fact that if you leave the room for a minute or two, or answer that phone call, you won't have to worry about it.