Review it! Hit & Run

The problems with this film begins with its title “Hit & Run” which might imply car chases, or car accidents. The film has chases but they aren’t particularly thrilling. I’ve had more excitement watching my neighbours kids crash their power-wheels than watching the flat and mundane non-sense that was happening on screen.

The plot for “Hit & Run” is nothing we haven’t seen before. To sum it up, it is a comedy about a young couple (Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard) that risks it all when they leave their small town life and embark on a road trip that may lead them towards the opportunity of a lifetime. Their “fast-paced” road trip grows awkwardly complicated when they are chased by a friend from the past (Bradley Cooper), a federal marshal (Tom Arnold), and a band of misfits.

Shepard plays Charlie Bronson aka Yul Perkins, a reformed getaway driver currently in the witness protection program located in the middle of back-road country California. Annie, his girlfriend played by real life fiancé Kristian Bell, is a teacher who gets a job interview at UCLA and needs to travel to Los Angeles. L.A. is the last place Charlie wants to go, but feeling the need to overcome his fears, Charlie sets his mind on driving Annie to her interview and will stop at nothing to get there.

Annie, having no idea about Charlie’s past and the trouble he left waiting for him in Los Angeles, quickly realizes they are being chased by her ex-boyfriend, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum). Gil has been keeping tabs on Annie and is convinced that Charlie is a murderer. In an effort to save Annie, Gil contacts Charlie’s old gang members which includes Alex (Bradley Cooper), and tells them his location. Soon Gil and his brother Terry (Jess Rowland), join the chase with Alex – who has a bone to pick with his former getaway driver regarding money and his Filipino cellmate.

The movie has some funny parts, but the comedy is very low brow. Kristian Bell’s character is a “UCLA qualified” teacher, but for some reason she is dating a “redneck” that uses words like “fag”, and has no moral compass. Bell’s acting is weak and unbelievable at times, especially when the couple squabbles about nonsense. Dax Shepard tends to be annoying at points and doesn’t play as well on the big screen like he does on TV.  His character in this film is almost identical to the one in his other flop “Let’s go to prison”. He wrote most of the material for the film in just under three months and it shows. The onscreen performance is lacking, the jokes are very youth oriented and will not appeal to anyone with a grade twelve education. The only thing keeping this film together is the comedic support from Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges, Michael Rosenbaum, Jess Rowland and Kristin Chenoweth.

Tom Arnold plays a marshal named Randy assigned to protect Charlie. He joins the chase trying to catch up to Charlie thinking he is in desperate need of his services. A lot of people don’t like Arnold’s style of comedy and though this might not be his best role, I did enjoy his character over Shepards. Bradley Cooper plays an interesting antagonist with his ensemble of sunglasses, track suits, and the beautiful Joy Bryant (Honey). It’s a different role for Bradley Cooper but works in an offbeat sort of way.  Spoiler: Sorry ladies, but if you are going to watch this film for “hot Brad”, he is nowhere to be found.

“Hit & Run” moves in multiple directions trying to emulate classics such as “Eat My Dust!” or “Smokey and the Bandit” but just can’t achieve it. The few chase scenes that do take place are pathetic. Mostly just cars doing donuts and frantic swerving, all shortcut editing and no gusto – much like the overall feel of the film. I can give credit for Dax using his own vehicles and doing his own “stunt driving”, but I’m sure the film would have been much more satisfying if he didn’t.

If you are seeing this film because the trailers say “like the Hangover” – It’s not. If you are seeing this film because the trailers say, “like the Fast and the Furious” – It’s not. Most of the “good” scenes in this film were shown in the trailer, and while there are moments that seem smart and promising, they come along too rarely to fulfill any actual promise.

Overall this film should have gone straight to DVD. I give “Hit & Run” a 4/10, and even this might be too much.

Felix Kay,
Catch Movie reviews by @TheFelixKay every Thursday on Vancity Buzz.

“Hit & Run”, is rated R for violence, profanity, sexually suggestive scenes and car crashes. Running time: 100 minutes. In theatres everywhere August 24, 2012.