Review: HIT & RUN

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

 

As a child of the seventies and eighties, I grew up watching wacky comedies involving slapstick antics, over-the-top caricatures, and high speed car chases.  Some that come to mind include Grand Theft Auto, Corvette Summer, and Smokey and the Bandit.  It is obvious that actor/writer/director Dax Shepard also has a fondness for these cinematic romps which have an undeniable influence on his next collaboration with director David Palmer.  Hit & Run takes all the goofy and silly fun of these movies and combines them with an adorably sweet romantic comedy making for an enjoyable time at the cinema.

Charlie Bronson (Shepard) and Annie (Kristen Bell) are head over heels in love.  Charlie, not his real name, has been in the witness protection program for a while and has lived a very low key life recently.  When Annie gets offered a major career opportunity in Los Angeles, Charlie decides to come out of hiding and drive her there. When Bronson’s former criminal cohorts are tipped off to his whereabouts, Charlie must uses his awesome driving skills to protect Annie and get them to L.A. on time.

Shepard proves himself as a skilled and talented comedic writer with Hit & Run.  Most of the jokes work really well and deliver the laughs.  I must warn that humor can be bawdy at times, so this may turn off some audiences. The story isn’t anything dynamically exciting, but still doesn’t fail to entertain.  I will say that he refreshingly tones down the caricatures a bit.  They do exist in this movie, but are not quite as over-the-top as in similar films during the 70s and 80s.  The movie has its slow moments here and there, but they don’t last too long, thankfully.  The action scenes, especially the car chases do provide thrills, but still left a bit to be desired.  Director David Palmer and his crew do some fine work in filming these sequences.

As for the cast, Dax and Kristen charmingly perform well with impeccable comedic timing and with a lovely chemistry.  This real-life couple’s adoration for each other translates well to the fictional realm.  Bradley Cooper also stars as Alex Dimitri, one of Charlie’s former colleagues.  Cooper brings a disarming charm to this character that appears to be a harmless douche bag, but actually can turn mean really quickly.   Tom Arnold portrays Randy, the marshal assigned to protect Charlie.  This character gets a little too silly and buffoonish to be believable as a federal law officer.  Kristin Chenoweth makes a welcome and hilarious appearance as Annie’s boss and friend Debby Kreeger. Another hilarious performance comes from Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum who plays Gil, Annie’s ex-boyfriend.

Because I found the overall experience highly enjoyable, I will reluctantly recommend this film as a full-priced ticket.  I believe that this movie would make a fun date night at the cinema for audiences who can handle some slightly raunchy humor.  Otherwise, I highly recommend as a matinee or rental.  I look forward to future film projects form Palmer and Sheperd who have the talent to make fun movies.

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