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Film / Strange Wilderness

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Strange Wilderness is a 2008 comedy-adventure film produced by Adam Sandler's production company Happy Madison Productions. The film stars Steve Zahn, Allen Covert, Justin Long, Jonah Hill, and Kevin Heffernan.

Peter Gaulke is the host of his late father's nature program, Strange Wilderness, and under his direction, the show has become a wildly inaccurate and unprofessional joke. To save the show from cancellation, he and his crew embark on a quest to find the legendary Bigfoot. Unfortunately, a rival nature show crew is also in search of the creature, and they have a three-day head start.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Pierson may be a Smug Snake, but he and his crew didn't deserve to be ambushed and brutally murdered by jungle natives.
  • Always Someone Better: Pierson and his crew to the protagonists. Then again, it's hard not to be when you see how much of a screw-up the protagonists are.
  • The Alcoholic: Whitaker.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The crew hops in their RV in Los Angeles, destination: Ecuador, via Mexico. The very next scene has them southbound on California Highway-1 in Big Sur...200 miles north of LA. Probably intentional.
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  • Bullet Hell: Bigfoot is just as surprised to see Gaulke's crew as they are to see him. Unfortunately for him, they're idiots, and they're armed.
  • Captain Obvious: Many of the "facts" on Peter's show, such as:
    • "Sharks can only be found in two places on Earth: the Northern and Southern Hemispheres."
    • "It is estimated that bears kill over 2 million salmon each year, although attacks by salmon on bears are much more rare."
    • "The shark has been menacing and terrifying for over a decade."
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Most of the cast, especially Cooker and Junior.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ernest Borgnine
  • Critical Research Failure: Several in-universe examples, particularly "Bears derive their name from a football team in Chicago."
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens quite a bit in the show, whether it's an overly long segment about topless "native girls" (they're actually from Long Beach) or incredibly crude dialogue during a scene with two lions getting it on.
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  • Electric Joybuzzer: Cooker is fond of using one of these, particularly punching guys in the nuts with it.
  • Fan Disservice: Robert Patrick showing the results of having to patch himself up after a run-in with a particularly nasty local tribe.
    They tied me to a tree and did what they do to every White man they don't kill. They cut open my scrotum with a sharp stick, and let my testicles spill out onto the ground.
    • Invoked when Peter (who just had his front teeth knocked out) hits on the woman in the dentist's waiting room.
  • Groin Attack: While Peter is taking a piss, a wild turkey tries to swallow his penis and ends up getting it lodged in its throat.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: The team kill and eat the piranhas which killed Dick and devoured him. Only after the fact do they realize that by extension, this means they've also consumed what remains of Dick along with the piranhas.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: When we last see Pierson, he's missing the lower half of his body from the native attack.
    • Danny loses both legs at the hip to a shark.
  • Manchild: Peter's whole crew, but especially Junior. This is a guy who can't go 5 minutes without getting high and actually tattoos eyes on his eyelids so that people think he's awake while he's sleeping on the job.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Bigfoot buys it to multiple AK-47s handled by the Strange Wilderness crew, who open fire in a moment of drunken panic when Bigfoot gives them a Jump Scare. Also an example of I Just Shot Marvin in the Face.
  • Only Sane Man: Cheryl is remarkably more mature than the rest of the crew. Dick also shares this role with her when he joins the team, at least until he becomes piranha chow.
  • Overly Long Gag: The laughing shark loop near the end. Also, the crew's incredibly juvenile reactions to their jungle guide being named Dick.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: After the group eventually finds Bigfoot, they panic upon seeing him and messily shoot him dead. This results in the network pulling the plug on the Strange Wilderness show... and then uncancelling it a few months later because they found out about Pierson's death, and couldn't find a replacement show.
  • Shout-Out: Bigfoot's design is clearly designed to be reminiscent of the title character from Harry and the Hendersons.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Played with. Whitaker is the first to be interviewed for the animal wrangler's position, and when he admits that he doesn't have any relevant experience and is only applying because he can't get any other job, Peter and Fred give him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and tell him to go fuck himself. However, all the candidates who follow are then shown telling Peter and Fred what irredeemable assholes they are and refuse to even consider taking the job, resulting in them having to hire Whitaker anyway.


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