I remember my first encounter with a weekend warrior. As I pulled out from the cul-de-sac of my parents' suburban Phoenix home, I turned to see a grizzled biker grinning at me from atop an idling mountain of chrome. A brief flash of panic tightened my chest that such a character-decked out in leather jacket, pants, and riding boots, a bandanna covering his unwashed hair and a grizzly 5 o'clock shadow dusting his face-was looking directly at me!
A second glance allayed my fears. The threat on wheels was no Hell's Angel leering at me inappropriately, but a friend of my father's from down the street-the vice president of a successful pool company-waving a cheerful hello to the girl who used to baby-sit his kids on Saturday nights.
Clearly then the amusing premise of Disney's Wild Hogs, in which four tamed suburban men take to the open road to find their inner tough guys, has some grounding in reality-but the premise is where that authenticity ends.
Though Wild Hogs, starring John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence, and Tim Allen, plays like a City Slickers with motorcycles instead of horses, it has none of the earlier film's depth and charm. The problems that cause the men to want to take a cross-country bike trip are glossed over so quickly, they come off like silly caricatures of real conflict.
Making matters worse, when the film (rated PG-13 for crude, sexual content and some violence) isn't trading on an endless parade of gay jokes, it's focusing on an unfunny, unoriginal subplot in which the group must face off with a gang of biker bad guys.
William H. Macy provides a few laughs despite having little more to do than perform the world's hackiest pratfalls, but Wild Hogs' funniest moments come during the ending credits. Too bad by then you're just ready to get off the ride.