In "Wild Hogs," four middle-aged guys ride their motorcycles cross-country to reclaim their zest for life. Welcome to the journey of stock characters. Tim Allen is the dentist - you just knew one of these guys had to be a dentist, didn't you? - who was allegedly a hell-raiser in his youth. John Travolta is the cool guy whose idyllic life is secretly falling apart. Martin Lawrence plays the criminally henpecked husband and William H. Macy the requisite computer nerd who is terrified of women. Apparently he missed those Mac vs. PC ads that portray geeks as cute and trendy.
Along the road from Cincinnati to the Pacific Ocean, they:
1. Elude a swishy gay cop (the fabulous John C. McGinley of Scrubs without his adorable curls and, in one scene, his pants, a development which clearly improves any movie).
2. Find an attractive girlfriend (Marisa Tomei) for the nerd.
3. Flummox some real bikers, the del Fuegos, who are led by a tattooed psychopath (Ray Liotta) and would in reality have left the Hogs' suburban bones bleaching in the desert.
"Wild Hogs" is a paint-by-numbers comedy, borrowing most of its broad strokes from sitcoms, and not clever ones like "The Office" and "30 Rock," either. Still, its cheery, lightweight slapstick will appeal to audiences that require only quick diversion. It's immediately forgettable but not inordinately painful, more like a routine cleaning at the dentist's than a root canal. During the movie dead zone of this early spring, that's about the best you can hope for in a comedy.