Dude, where’s my countryside? From Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison company, Strange Wilderness is another stoner-meets-nature comedy from director Fred Wolf, writer of the similarly low-rent male-bonding opus Without a Paddle.
Peter (Steve Zahn) is the permanently wasted host of his late father’s cable show. His soporific commentary on nature programmes barely keeps him in pocket money, until a treasure map encourages him and fellow animal-lover Fred (Allan Covert) and his pothead camera team (including Justin Long and Superbad’s Jonah Hill) to head for the Andes in search of Bigfoot.
Despite a weak premise, Strange Wilderness has some laid-back charm, mainly thanks to Sandler’s usual sprinkling of guest stars, including Joe Don Baker, Harry Hamlin, Robert Patrick and even Ernest Borgnine. At 93, Borgnine grasps his breakthrough in stoner comedy with both hands. It’s actually the henchmen comics in the cast who let the straight-men down. Zahn, Hill and Long seem unsure of the material; their endless sniggering when they meet a forest-guide called Dick should be hilarious in a post Beavis and Butthead kind of way but it’s just strained and juvenile in the most depressing of ways. And one scene involving a turkey and Zahn’s genitals proves considerably more damaging to the actor’s dignity than the atrocities done to him in the POW camp sequences of Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn.
General release from Fri 11 Apr.