Wild America

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Wild America

There are many moments in Wild America when it appears that Home Improvement teen-idol Jonathan Taylor Thomas may lose his life. Unfortunately, the squinty-eyed, smirk-prone scamp fails to be gored by a moose or mauled by bears. He passes up opportunities to entertain us by drowning, or by crashing an airplane. At one point, death by car crash appears imminent—but you won't catch JTT without his safety belt fastened. Any real entertainer knows always to give the audience what it wants and, as Wild America proves, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is no entertainer. The film itself is a bland exercise that will appeal only to 14-year-old girls and fans of attractive scenery populated by fake prop animals. JTT, Devon Sawa, and Scott Bairstow play the three Stouffer brothers who, as in real life, embark on a career of nature photography. One of the Stouffers went on to found PBS's Wild America, any single episode of which is more enjoyable than the film that takes its name. And, unless angry bears really can be lulled to sleep by teenage boys singing bluegrass songs, the PBS series is also less likely to instill in its audience the false notion that cuteness is all you need to withstand the wrath of an angry Mother Nature.

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