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Hit and Run - Movie Review

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Hit and Run - Movie Review

2 stars

One of the biggest joys of writing about film comes from the occasional love affair with an independently-produced little gem that thrives on a pressed shooting schedule and reduced budget while still managing to find creatively-conceived ways to entertain without the corrupting influence of studio suits. And while Hit and Run certainly falls in that category with a production budget of just $2 million, unfortunately there’ll be no love affair with this broken down jalopy that blows an engine before it ever crosses the starting line.

Hit and Run is the brainchild of Dax Shepard (of Parenthood fame) and David Palmer who co-direct the film about Charlie Bronson (Shepard), an oddly mild-mannered tough guy laying low in a sleepy central California town as a ward of the Federal Witness Protection Program.  When he finds out his wholesome girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell) has a promising new job opportunity in Los Angeles, Charlie decides to drive her there, but not before his real identity – and subsequently, the reason he is under protection in the first place – is revealed not only to Annie, but to a former fellow bank robber buddy Alex (Bradley Cooper), against whom Charlie had to testify in order to avoid going to jail.

"too often just sits in neutral, gasping for something to do next. All too often that means more Tom Arnold."


 

Ironically, Annie works in the field of non-violent conflict resolution, a skill that gets put to the test early and often as she and Charlie head out for LA with a gang of bumbling misfits and criminals, including a whiny Tom Arnold as Charlie’s incompetent US Marshal, in tow.

The film shifts into high gear when real-life couple Shepard and Bell are on screen together sharing tender moments of touching banter. Their natural chemistry is undeniable. Conversely, the film suffers when the action hits the road and we’re forced to endure the dopey shenanigans of a dreadlocked Cooper and his entourage hell-bent on tracking down their nemesis. Shepard’s script never gets the tone of this thread right in that Alex and his two henchmen – played by Jess Rowland and Joy Brant – aren’t scary enough to counter their goofiness with a distressing sense of danger. Neither is the film genuinely funny enough to be anything more than a silly slapstick comedy without much stick to slap. All too often a scene ends with what was to be a laugh-out-loud exchange while the audience sits in discomforting silence.

Hit and Run clearly wants to be mentioned alongside many of the bad-ass car chase movies like Bullit and Vanishing Point. And with a souped-up 1967 Black Lincoln Continental (which belongs to Dax Shepard in real life), the makings are there for the boss car to become the star of the show and a genuine scene-stealer. Unfortunately, the miniscule budget didn’t afford the filmmakers the opportunity to choreograph very elaborate chase sequences, so they often fail to find any real traction. Even with classic rock heavies like Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion playing behind slo-mo scenes of smoking tires and flying gravel, it’s not enough to overcome the extended sequences of cars doing nothing more exciting than peeling out and driving fast on deserted country roads.

Despite its many cult-movie elements, low budget sensibilities, and a cast and crew hell-bent on creating a cool little genre throwback with a contemporary sense of humor, Hit and Run too often just sits in neutral, gasping for something to do next. All too often that means more Tom Arnold.

Hit and Run - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content.
Runtime:
100 mins.
Director
: David Palmer, Dax Shepard
Writer: Dax Shepard
Cast:
Dax Shepard; Kristin Bell; Bradley Cooper; Tom Arnold; Kristin Chenoweth; Beau Bridges
Genre
: Comedy | Action
Tagline:
Hit and Run
Memorable Movie Quote: "I was butt-f@#$%ed by a Filipino dude!"
Distributor:
Open Road Films
Official Site:
www.hitandrunmovie.com
Release Date: August 22, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Synopsis: Charlie Bronson, a former getaway driver busts out of the Witness Protection Program to drive his girlfriend to Los Angeles so she can land her dream job. Their road trip grows awkwardly complicated, when they are chased by the feds, and increasingly dangerous, when Charlie's former gang of criminals enter the fray.

No details available.

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