27 July 2008 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Strange Wilderness
One of the reasons why I decided to watch this, is because I needed a comedy to laugh at, if it's not possible to laugh together with it. The DVD is already available at the shops, but I don't think I'm ready to fork out a Code 1 DVD price for what's essentially a short comedic film which is based from a Saturday Night Life comedy skit. Written by the same creative team of Peter Gaulke and Fred Wolf with the latter taking on directorial duties as well, Strange Wilderness delivered some genuine laughs, but only if you're tolerant of being insensitive to the kind of subject the film makes fun of.
Strange Wilderness is a long running wildlife programme which is now succeeded by Peter (Steve Zahn), the host of the show, whose father had made the programme into one of the best loved prime time shows. Under Peter's leadership, ratings have plummeted, and needless to say even their 3am timeslot is in danger of being canceled. In a last minute desperation for survival, he and his crew have to look for a new way to ensure their programme continues, and dropped at their laps is the opportunity to follow up on a solid lead to the whereabouts of Bigfoot.
Eseentially this movie is one big road trip that tells of the crew's journey to documentary history, with the likes of soundman and co-collaborator Fred (Allen Covert), Cooker (Jonah Hill), the only female in the team Cheryl (Ashley Scott), and cameraman Junior (Justin Long), amongst others. And throughout the movie, we see each and everyone of them getting into enough funny scenarios that made this film look like many pieces of skits being glued together, with laughs coming courtesy of sexual innuendos (you just got to hand it to the turkey), sight gags, slapstick and just plain buffoony. In fact, I even suspect that everyone in the cast were on a high as they shot this, as dialogues were laced quite incoherently with plenty of ad-libbing, especially Justin Long, though of course if he's really acting, then kudos to him for being stoned all the time.
While giving no respect to wildlife, the funniest moments were reserved for their voice overs of Nature, and it's really quite incredible should anything like it be actually aired for television. They are intentionally full of factual errors, lapse into unnecessary judgmental and slanted viewpoints, but always just plain ridiculously funny. Perhaps I was in crap mode, but the humor here doesn't apologize for any offence made, since after all, the subject matter can't fight back anyway. I know I'm shallow if I say I really couldn't get enough of the film poking fun at the physical features/defects repeatedly. There is no plot in the movie, besides everyone being perpetually broke as they try and scrimp or come out with more hare-brained ideas to fund their movie and fuel the laughs.
So the bottomline is, don't expect any genius from Strange Wilderness, but if you're in for some low-brow humor, then this movie might just be the perfect laughing medicine for anyone wanting to chase the blues away, without any medicinal assistance.