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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

STRANGE WILDER­NESS Di­rected by Fred Wolf. Star­ring Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, Allen Covert, Kevin Hef­fer­nan, Ash­ley Scott, Harry Ham­lin, Robert Pa­trick, Joe Don Baker, Ernest Borg­nine 16 cert, gen re­lease, 87 min

THIS reck­lessly stupid stoner com­edy ends mid-scene – in­deed, mid-syl­la­ble – with a large por­tion of the cast col­laps­ing into gen­uine, un­con­trol­lable laugh­ter. The im­pli­ca­tion is that they can’t quite be­lieve they’ve got away with mak­ing some­thing so un­apolo­get­i­cally lazy. A glance at the un­re­lent­ingly ter­ri­ble Amer­i­can re­views and rel­a­tively hum­ble box-of­fice sug­gests that not ev­ery­body is pre­pared to in­dulge their in­do­lence.

Has the world gone mad? Strange Wilder­ness fea­tures a scene in which Steve Zahn has to have a turkey sur­gi­cally re­moved from his gen­i­tals. The film also sees Harry Ham­lin cut in half by pyg­mies and finds time for Ernest Borg­nine to scowl at the cam­era. What’s not to like?

Zahn plays the ad­dled son of a suc­cess­ful wildlife pre­sen­ter who, upon the old man’s death, makes a fee­ble at­tempt to take over his show. He is too dis­or­gan­ised to gather proper footage and has some trou­ble re­duc­ing the mys­ter­ies of zo­ol­ogy into eas­ily di­gestible sound-bites. “It is es­ti­mated that bears kill over two mil­lion salmon a year,” Steve drones at the cam­era. “At­tacks by salmon on bears are much more rare.”

When a classier wildlife pre­sen­ter starts to mus­cle in on Steve’s times­lot, he must go into the jun­gle and, like, do some­thing be­fore . . . erm? Oh, jeez. I can’t re­mem­ber. There’s this stuff about Big­foot and a lot of funny songs from the fat kid out of Su­per­bad and loads of puns in­spired by a guy named Dick. Oh, and did I men­tion that a turkey at­taches it­self to Zahn’s pri­vates? Clas­sic.

Call me a mo­ron, but I laughed so hard I in­haled my roach. The film just might be the fun­ni­est work yet pro­duced by Happy Madi­son, Adam San­dler’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, and not just be­cause the boss is nowhere to be seen.

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