Steve Zahn has put back on the weight he lost to star in Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog's fictionalisation of his 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly. In this comedy, Zahn seems to have based his tragic wildlife documentarian Peter on another of Herzog's documentary characters, Timothy Treadwell, whose fascinating life and death was recounted in Grizzly Man. Like Treadwell, the TV presenter Peter cannot understand why his show is failing, is unable to function in normal society and plans to win over the public by creating an audacious and individual wildlife show. Unfortunately Peter has none of the charm or heart of Treadwell and it's quickly clear that he's a one-dimensional character in a no-joke movie. Despite the promising premise of a presenter trying to save his career by finding a mythical animal, the director, Fred Wolf cannot muster a single laugh. It's hard to believe Wolf used to be the head writer on Saturday Night Live. The talented cast including the Judd Apatow regular Jonah Hill, Adam Sandler's sidekick Allen Covert and the rising star Justin Long are all wasted as part of Peter's bumbling film crew. This lame wildlife safari can at least claim to be environmentally friendly: all the jokes are recycled.
Updated: August 6, 2008 04:00 AM