Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Hit and Run

Hit and Run
Starring:
Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold


Rated: R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 22, 2012 Released by: OPEN ROAD FILMS

This late summer over-the-top action, road-trip comedy cinematic fling is a strange brew of The Mexican, Smokey and the Bandit, and the late Tony Scott's True Romance to name a few pictures besides Gone in 60 Seconds.  Or even an explicit geriatric moment may bring back memories of  About Schmidt where "meaningless frantic action" may outweigh romantic yearning."
 
Hit and Run, starring real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, has the busy Bradley Cooper (Limitless, the upcoming The Words) ahead of them on the marquee as a dreadlocked bank robber Alex, and is probably increasingly enjoyable because its predictability isn't predicated on knowing more than its characters do. It does fall into the uncouth trappings of what seems to fit into contemporary celluloid.
 
The film, written by Shepard, and co-directed by David Palmer and him, at times plays like an in-joke with a teasingly blithe quality, at least on the surface. An awkwardness hampers the early section defined by the interplay of Annie (Bell) and witness protected Charlie Bronson (Shepard) who both starred in the midwinter trifle When In Rome. There's also the case of  Tom Arnold's Randy, Charlie's oafish Federal Marshall/case officer who's more than a little dangerous to be around.
 
The hardly original narrative has Annie needing a lift to L.A. for her professional upgrade in "conflict resolution," so her loving boyfriend in Charlie (once a getaway driver) easily volunteers even if it means jeopardizing his new identity with old colleagues and the feds on his tail. Once Hit and Run gets on the road there are a variety of car chases, even if one may be rather lackluster. Instead of an old Camaro or Chrysler 300M in The Mexican some of the vehicles matched up include a vintage 1967 Lincoln Continental, a shiny new Corvette and a mini-van.
 
If Shepard's script has its share of outlandish interludes that usually include the scene-stealing Cooper, the multi-tasker acquits himself more admirably than expected (you might not think of him in a low-budgeter of this type). What's clear is his on-screen chemistry with a pretty piquant Bell whose Annie slowly becomes privy to Charlie's situation as they share some pungent line-readings. Among the back-up if you can handle Arnold and Cooper and take their assortment of antics, Kristin Chenoweth and Beau Bridges are noteworthy as Annie's pill-popping imperious community college boss and Charlie's estranged boss (helping out with some needed subtext).
 
The directing partners shift gears in a fairly fluid production (perhaps a nod to a filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino) with an easy-going widescreen polish especially on the soundtrack and slow-motion side to make it an amiable, if sometimes gratuitous B-movie that should serve its target audience looking for a diversion from the action-packed super heroic boys of summer.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Hit and Run  F      C+                     D 

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