Wild America

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

"Wild America" purports to be Marty Stouffer's real-life childhood adventure that led to his career as a nature-film auteur. Now, either he's, ahem, embellishing what happened, or he and his brothers had more dumb luck than Forrest Gump. Which brings me to this film's worst sin, over and above the lame special effects and lamer script. This flick's a primer on how to inflict major injuries. Kids are given way too many ideas for way too many methods to hurt both themselves, and others, with staph infections, dismemberments, drownings, wild animal attacks, and accidents involving heavy equipment.

The film begins by showing barely post-pubescent Marty in his pre-nature film days, shooting home movies on his super-8. These feature youngest brother, Marshall, enduring near-death experiences involving firecrackers and suchlike. After half an hour of Marshall being tortured in the name of cinema, a plot is introduced. Marty spots a professional movie camera, to take the place of his super 8, and decides to trek across country and film endangered species. After only token resistance from their parents, the brothers take to the road and are promptly attacked by an alligator. Others might have gone back home at this point, but not these idiot kids. They go on to weather angry moose and carpet-bombing by Phantom F-14s. Finally, they tempt fate one last time by barging in on a whole passel of hibernating bears. Did I mention this takes place during the summer? And don't even get me started about Danny Glover's cameo in which he dispenses laughable wisdom while wearing w! hat appears to be road-kill on

"Wild America" is like a "Simpsons" episode gone completely unfunny. It made me wonder whether or not Warner Brothers has enough liability insurance to cover the carnage that will surely follow its release, and what the heck they were thinking when they decided to release it in the first place.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 6/2/97

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