Hit & Run
dir David Palmer, Dax Shepard
scr Dax Shepard
prd Andrew Panay, Nate Tuck, Kim Waltrip
with Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Michael Rosenbaum, Jess Rowland, Joy Bryant, Kristin Chenoweth, Beau Bridges, David Koechner, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes
release US 24.Aug.12, UK 12.Oct.12
12/US 1h40
Hit & Run
In cognito: Bell and Shepard

cooper arnold rosenbaum
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Hit & Run Lively and thoroughly mindless, this raucous action-comedy plays a bit too close to the precipice of sexism, racism and homophobia. But some viewers will love that about the movie, which has a disarmingly loose, freewheeling tone and engaging if thinly developed characters.

Charlie (Shepard) is living in rural California with his girlfriend Annie (Bell), who has just been offered a job in Los Angeles. But this is a problem, because Charlie is in witness protection, and the gang leader Alex (Cooper) he put in prison is in L.A. So as Charlie decides to take Annie to her job interview, Charlie's witness protection agent (Arnold) tries to keep up. Meanwhile, Annie's ex Gil (Rosenbaum) pursues them as well, notifying Alex and setting up a frantic series of events along the road.

The filmmakers' only interest is in the muscle cars, which the male characters constantly challenge each other with, as if anyone else (including the audience) cares. And of course they must have a hot babe in the passenger seat. Yes, there are heavy echoes of Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard here. So even though the dialog is peppered with knowing discussions of gender roles, ethnicity and sexuality, the film itself just wallows in stereotypes.

Fortunately, the dialog is snappy enough to keep us on our toes, and to give more interesting actors like Bell and Cooper something to chew on. By comparison, Shepard (looking like he needs a bath), Rosenbaum and Arnold are one-note chuckleheads, while side characters are either box-ticking types (Rowland as Gil's gay brother, Bryant as Alex's black girlfriend) or one-scene cameo clowns. But throwing them together gives the film a shambolic charm that often catches us by surprise, especially in quieter dramatic moments.

As the chaos escalates, the wacky antics get less believable, but the high-energy approach keeps us mildly entertained. It's one of those films that lets us switch off our brains for some vaguely offensive banter, vaguely rude sight gags (naked old people!) and vaguely romantic cuteness. Nothing is honest or clever, and the provocative humour only mildly ruffles our feathers. But sometimes a lazy movie like this is just what we need.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, nudity 4.Jul.12

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