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Review: 'Hit and Run'

Whacky hijinks are "hit and miss" in this road caper.

Hit and Run is a great title for a really terrible little low-budget summer escapist “fun” flick. Other titles that came to mind while suffering through this insulting caper were Stupid, Stupider and Stupidest, The Six Stooges and perhaps The Insufferables.  

This film should not be confused with the same-titled release of 2009 of which I know nothing other than that it couldn’t possibly worse than this crude, sloppily put together amalgam of every car chase cliché ever foisted upon a movie-going public.

The film actually starts very promisingly with a sweet, touching bedroom scene with the Charles Bronson (don’t ask!) of Dax Shepard lovingly and tenderly assuring his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell), that life is unfolding for both of them just as it's meant to, and exhorting her to live every moment and to not worry about the past or the future. This scene gave me hope for a perhaps intelligent, albeit whacky comedy. Well, my optimism was quickly dashed by what followed: a series of apparently hastily written bits thrown together in slap-dash fashion that just barely holds together in terms of plot cohesiveness and plausibility.

  • Hit and Run is one of the movies playing this week at .

Turns out that Annie holds a Ph.D. in something called “violence-resolution” and is offered a job that would necessitate her moving to Los Angeles from the sleepy back-water village where the couple reside. The “problem” (OY!) is that Charles is hiding out in a witness-protection program after turning state’s evidence in a bank robbery so he can avoid prison. But love conquers all and Charles will not stand in the way of his lover’s career advancement. Dusting off a prized old car kept in mothballs in Charles' garage, the pair set off on their “hit-the-road” escapade and, as the title rightfully suggests, there is much running, crashing and foolishness that regrettably only occasionally hits any note of humor.

Shepard, who also wrote and directed this caper, does have a certain earnest, puppy-like, scruffy, everyman charm that would serve him well in a better conceived romantic comedy. Surprisingly, there is little chemistry between him and Bell, his fiancée in real life. The actress offers the proverbial emotional range of A to B, but certainly looks pretty and petite strapped into her car seat like an Indy 500 contestant.

Things get really over-the-top when Annie’s former and very jealous boyfriend, Gil, finds Charles on the Internet and tips off gang ringleader, Alex (Bradley Hooper in blond-died dreadlocks), and we are all off to the races, for better or worse—in this case emphasis definitely on the latter. 

There’s an obvious homage to films like Smokey and the Bandit and Tom Arnold does his best to bring some laughs as a hopelessly inept doofus U.S. Marshall assigned to guard Charles. To add insult to injury is a vaguely homophobic subplot involving a gay Sheriff trying to arrange assignations on his cell-phone app. 

Beau Bridges turns up in a cameo punching his estranged son in the face, something you might feel perfectly justified for Shepard having made us sit through this tepid excuse for a summer romp.

Jeff Klayman is an award-winning playwright whose works have been produced in New York, Los Angeles and London. He also wrote the screenplay for the independent film Adios, Ernesto, directed by Mervyn Willis.

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