A brash and sassy popcorn movie, Hit and Run is as bubbly as a gallon of Pepsi. A date movie for the comedy crowd, it’s a romcom-crime-caper-road-movie with Dukes of Hazard car chases. And with plenty of ass jokes too, which seem to amuse the Americans no end - so to speak.
Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is in a witness protection programme, stuck in Hicksville. But he has a beautiful girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell) who’s got a job offer. Thing is, it’s in LA – the only place in America he can’t go without blipping onto the criminals’ radar. But love is the drug and breaking cover in his favourite old car, Charlie agrees to get her to the interview – and before she seeks the help of her suave ex-boyfriend. Before you can say Top Gear, the crims and the cops are on their tail - a motley entourage heading for a showdown in the city of angels.
The best thing about Hit and Run is Kristen Bell, grounding the antics but raising questions about Shepard’s scruffo boyfriend – like why is she with him and would she really stick around when the truth comes out. Worst thing is the cartoon character of Shepard’s witness protection minder (stand up comedian Tom Arnold) whose over the top comedy acting and endless shouting makes Gene Wilder look subtle.
Bradley Cooper’s surfer-dude criminal – only a shade less ringleted than Gary Oldman in True Romance – is fun in a scuzzy sort of way. But this is a really about the romance, with car chases, crude humour and motel mayhem thrown into the mix.
The showdown’s a letdown: some A-Team shenanigans, bursting out of a barn in a souped up vehicle, and an eye-catching cameo from Beau Bridges. But there’s no real tension. Like True Romance, it’s a boy-girl story but unlike Tony Scott’s paean to crazy young love, this one plays it safe and loud.
Even though Hit and Run tries to shoe-horn in some movie references, this is no Tarantino. Still you have to hand it to writer-director-star Shepard for choosing his character’s name not from the Bronson of Death Wish – but from the British criminal, given a comedy biopic in 2008.
Hit and Run does exactly what it says. It’s a shouty, goofy night out, mildly annoying in places, seriously so in others (yes, you, Tom Arnold). And with characters – apart from Bell –you couldn’t give a fig about. A 70's throwback it may be – sunny yellow roads, dust-raising car chases, crooks and cops heading for the valuable MacGuffin buried in a field somewhere. But it’s updated into a his and hers date movie.
As long as you like popcorn and buckets of Pepsi. Literally or metaphorically.
Glenn Watson (DI Reviewer), 17/10/12
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