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.