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Wieners (DVD Review)

4 May, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Prebook 5/8/08; Street 6/10/08
Sony Pictures
$24.94 DVD
Rated ‘R' for crude and sexual humor, nudity and language.
Stars Kenan Thompson, Zachary Levi, Fran Kranz, Darrell Hammond.

There has never before been a film about three guys traveling the highways, byways and dusty back roads of this land in a wiener-mobile — a van outfitted with a giant replica of a hot dog mounted on top in order to provide free samples to legions of needy Americans.The new comedy Wieners uses this vehicle as the foundation of its plot and turns up the narrative heat by making the van a personally customized affair for driver Wyatt (Thompson), who has failed the entrance exam for a program that trains drivers to operate the official vans used to promote Oscar Mayer.

Wyatt's solution to making his frankfurter dreams come true coincides with one of his best friends, Joel (Kranz), hitting rock bottom after being dumped by his girlfriend on national television and humiliated by the show's host, Dr. Dwayne (Hammond), a pop psychologist clearly modeled after Dr. Phil.

Levi rounds out the crew as another childhood best friend, desperate to pull Joel out of his funk but dubious of Wyatt's notion that a trip in a wiener-van and getting revenge on the smarmy talk show host will be a sure-fire depression buster.

The appealing, gifted leads all bring solid fanbases to the project, and they are ably supported with cameos from Jenny McCarthy, Kyle Gass and Andy Milonakis, who all turn in brief but precious-enough performances that are almost enough to base a viewing recommendation on.

Road trip films have been wildly appealing ever since the classic It Happened One Night, and while, unlike this film, the travelers did not encounter evil vegan hippies or phallic-minded cowboys, the idea is the same. You meet strange people on the road, and sometimes very funny things happen.

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