Posted by: jgurner | January 25, 2011

The Cheap Bin – Strange Wilderness

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anita and I pull a lot of movies from the various DVD “cheap bins.” Quite often, they are movies we’ve never even heard of or may have only heard the name. Sometimes we decide to get it because of the cast, or the blurb on the case or we thought we heard something good about the movie. Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we get them. But, since these are often the bulk of the movies we watch, I thought I’d start doing an occasional review. Often, these movies are years, even decades old, but, it’s nice to take a look back at something that might actually be really, really good (or not).

Strange Wilderness

2008 – Starring: Steve Zahn, Allen Covert, Justin Long, Jonah Hill

Directed by Fred Wolfe; Written by Peter Gaulke and Fred Wolf

Big Lots – $3 bin

I don’t remember this ever being in the theater, but I think it’s been played to death on Comedy Central. But finding a two-year-old movie in the Big Lots cheap bin is not really a good sign. But, a pretty good cast for a comedy so, what the hell.

The Story: Zahn is the son of a late wilderness TV show personality who has tried, badly, to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the help of his inept stoner friends (surprise), he manages to produce the worst show for the coveted 3 a.m. cable time slot. The show is canned, and there’s only one way to save it: Travel to South America and get footage of the one and only Big Foot.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this movie and I wasn’t disappointed. But, with a cast like Zahn, Long and Hill, you gotta think something good will come of it, especially when you add guest shots by Earnest Borgnine, Joe Don Baker, Harry Hamlin and Robert Patrick. The movie wasn’t a complete waste. I laughed, and quite a bit. But it was bad. Lots of juvenile and stoner humor. Somehow, it manages to cobble together a movie that you laugh with and at at the same time. There are some truly funny bits and some that are so bad, you laugh anyway.

I’ve always though Zahn was funny. He’s done some movies like Happy, Texas and Saving Silverman that hold up as decent comedies over the years. But he’s done a lot of crap too. Long is almost always good and I’m really coming to appreciate Hill after Knocked Up and Super Bad. I think you can tell they know this is a turkey, but knowing that, maybe they were just having fun with it.

I can’t say it’s worth $3, but I got some laughs out of it. It’s a Happy Madison production and getting a few laughs from it is more than I can say for your average Adam Sandler movie.

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