The DVD cover art of Wieners, starring Saturday Night Live‘s Kenan Thompson, is a thing to behold. And by behold, I mean laugh at, in shocked awe. First there’s Thompson’s creepily airbrushed photo, with his whitened teeth and eyes, and crazily plastered, shit-eating grin, like the fifth grade yearbook picture of your school’s biggest dorky outcast. Then there’s the picture of bit player Jenny McCarthy, plunging neckline and all, standing in front of a squirting bottle of mustard (apparently something she likes to do)… you know, positioned so it’s like Thompson is splooging on her! Two other dorks stand behind McCarthy, one on each side, underneath the words “100% Pure Beef Edition!” — indicating, falsely, that there might be some other “bare bones” DVD version of this movie. All of this is inset slightly against a background photo that makes the entire case look like… wait for it… a package of hot dogs. Ha!
Directed by Mark Steilen (The Settlement), Wieners centers on Joel (Fran Kranz), a guy who falls into a serious, Forgetting Sarah Marshall-esque funk after he’s publicly humiliated and dumped by his girlfriend on popular, nationally televised talk show of host Dr. Dwayne (Darrell Hammond, offering up a confused, listless, hybrid imitation of Al Gore and Dr. Phil). Trying to save Joel from his moping, his friends Wyatt (Thompson) and Ben (Zachary Levi)
force him to join them on a cross-country road trip to seek some revenge against Dr.
Dwayne. The three guys set out across America in Wyatt’s homemade wiener mobile,
handing out free hot dogs and encountering an endless
array of oddballs, weirdos and losers — including loogie-hocking
hippies, a flipper-fingered circus freak known as Walrus Boy and Ms. Isaac (McCarthy), their
formerly hot sixth grade teacher who’s unfortunately gone to seed.
The staging here is atrocious, and the script, by Suzanne Francis and Gabe Grifoni, offers up virtually nothing except lame patter and set-ups for the next obvious joke. Wyatt’s wiener mobile is explained only by him having really wanted an Oscar Meyer internship (?), and he also nurses a pointless Charlie’s Angels fetish (“Cameron Diaz wouldn’t say that to Drew Barrymore!” he snipes at one point) that doesn’t really pay of in any rewarding way. Many miles are traveled, and Joel eventually achieves a sort of cathartic reinstitution of testicular fortitude, but there’s nothing to really recommend suffering through this. Cameos from Tenacious D member Kyle Gass (as the aforementioned Walrus Boy), Andy Milonakis and Mindy Sterling yawningly come and go, and McCarthy’s cameo is just a bit of gross-out stunt casting. If she’s a secret crush of your’s, just do a quick Google search and you’ll feel much better than if you rent this.
Wieners comes housed in a regular plastic Amray case, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with English, Thai, Portuguese and Spanish audio tracks in Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound, and a French language track in Dolby stereo surround. Optional subtitles in the above-mentioned languages are also included, along with Chinese. There no supplemental bonus features — unless one counts outtakes under the end credits, or previews for Meatballs, The Cottage, Starship Troopers 3 and a half dozen other flicks — or pleas of forgiveness from those involved. For a clip of the movie, click here. To purchase it via Amazon, meanwhile, or at least just glimpse that stupid damn cover, click here. D- (Movie) D (Disc)