Strange Wilderness 

2008

Make no mistake: "Strange Wilderness" is one stupid, boneheaded movie "? so stupid it deserves to be spelled "stoopid." But at least it knows that, and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Like last summer's "Hot Rod," it's a slightly misunderstood comedy "? a potential cult classic that can be quite funny "¦ if only you're secure enough in your intelligence to let it.

Steve Zahn stars as a stoner/slacker type who fronts a bargain-basement TV nature show. It's on the verge of cancellation before he and his crew pursue ratings gold: the mythic Bigfoot. It's a flimsy plot on which writer/director Fred Wolf ("Without a Paddle") can hang the zany, scattershot misadventures of Zahn and his irresponsible pals "? a gang which includes Jonah Hill ("Superbad"), Justin Long ("Live Free or Die Hard") and Allen Covert ("Grandma's Boy").

The movie is probably more improv than scripted, and it doesn't end so much as quit playing, but hey, I laughed, against better judgment. Produced by Adam Sandler, it's funnier than anything in which he's starred in 10 years, and the DVD's extra scenes have even more laughs.

"?Rod Lott

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