Hit and Run is a middling crime comedy that often plays like Tarantino-lite. In an in advisable piece of multi-tasking Dax Shepard (from TV’s Parenthood) writes, co-directs and stars in this film. While there are amusing, exciting and even insightful moments, a different set of eyes may have helped him avoid some of this film’s flat spots and half-baked gags.
Shepard plays a surprisingly laid back young guy with the pseudonym of Charlie Bronson (after the English criminal not the Hollywood actor) who’s on witness protection in a small California town. He thinks he’s established a safe and comfortable life there when his girlfriend Kristen Bell scores a dream job in LA. Returning to LA with her means risking death at the hands of the crim against whom he testified, Alex (Bradley Cooper). He’s in just as much danger though from Bell’s meddling, psycho yuppie ex- boyfriend and his bumbling disaster prone buddy US Marshall Tom Arnold.
The film seems set up for a crime caper thrill ride but unfortunately many of the comic set pieces just fizzle out and the action seems oddly muted. The best moments aren’t the action scenes but Bell and Shepard’s debates about Neanderthal male behaviour.
A major problem is that many of the characters just don’t work. Worst of all is Cooper’s villain who looks like 80’s Andre Agassi and has to be one of the lamest gangsters in cinema history. Kristin Chenoweth also appears as exactly the same over-sexed cougar she’s instructed to play in every other film. Tom Arnold is almost funny but his chaotic antics just end up looking like random stupidity. Beau Bridges also makes an appearance in what has to be the most pathetic fight scene in cinema history.
There’s enough shooting and car chases to keep people awake but there’s a comic and dramatic spark missing from this film.
Nick’s rating: Two and half stars.
Classification: MA 15+
Director(s): David Palmer, Dax Shepard
Release date: 6th Sept 2012
Running time: 100 mins.
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