Movie Review: Hit and Run
Starring: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, and Bradley Cooper
Plot: A former getaway driver risks his witness protection to get his girlfriend to Los Angeles
Dax Shepard, who also wrote and co-directed this movie, plays Yul Perkins, who in witness protection goes by Charles Brosnon. He based his alias on the famed British prisoner who based his alias on the famed action hero. Yul was a getaway driver for a small group of bank-robbers. When one of their usually non-fatal robberies ended with a dead security guard, he flipped on them to the cops. Sometime later, he is living in a small town where he met a local teacher, Annie (Dax’s real life girlfriend, Kristen Bell). She was about to get downsized when her boss found her a bigger and better job in L.A. Yul technically can’t leave his location, but he does so anyways. This causes Annie’s jealous ex-boyfriend to research Yul. He ends up finding Yul’s old partner, Alex (Bradley Cooper) on facebook and clues in Alex on where Yul is. Alex, who spent some time in jail because of Yul, is reasonably pissed and out to get Yul and the money that Yul pocketed.
The shining light in the movie is definitely the chemistry between Dax and Kristen. It is pretty clear to me, and should be to all those fanboys jealous of Dax, why these two are together. They have great repartee. They feed off each other’s comedic cues, and their interactions are very naturalist even when they are performing overwritten banter.
Unfortunately no one else in the cast lives up to their standard. Bradley Cooper is completely replaceable in his part. He didn’t bring anything to the role. His ugly dreadlocks seemed to be added to make him look cool or at least a character considering there was literally nothing to the character other than vengeful anger. Tom Arnold and Michael Rosenbaum get a few funny moments but quickly fall to self-parody. The only other actor who really kills it is Beau Bridges as Yul’s father. He has a key scene, and Bridges does what he does best for the last few years: tough, cranky father figures who knows what’s best.
The movie might be victimized by poor marketing. I thought it was trying to look like a zany road movie, but it has more in common with the mid-90’s Tarantino-esque crime yarns that were characterized by their overly clever dialog which only seemed humorous. Again, it sets a bar that it can’t quite reach. A lot of the funniest moments were in the trailer, the rest of it was mildly entertaining small talk and really poorly developed side characters. The supporting cast was too much of a sideshow who’s misfortune and character defects were constantly put on display, except for the Alan character. Alan was kind of great at a lot of things but never got any screen time or dialog. He just ends up being the guy who landed a cool backflip during a rudimentary fight scene.
Luckily, the plot moves really fast, and most of the action scenes are really nicely shot, especially the car scenes. The plot never stays in one place for too long, and Dax never seems to be hurting for reasons to get the characters moving.
Hit and Run is not a great movie. It is barely a good movie, but I think Dax shows potential as a writer and director. He just has to work some of the kinks out.