Writer: Dax Shepard
I wasn’t ready to like “Hit and Run” as much as I did. The trailer seemed obnoxious, it looked like a ho-hum premise, and when was the last time you heard “let’s go see that Dax Shepard movie?” I also didn’t want to see a 90-minute love letter to Kristen Bell from her real-life romantic interest, Dax Shepard. Thank God Tom Arnold was in this or I would have written it off entirely.
“Hit and Run” is the car-chase-romantic-crime-
On their tail to Los Angeles is Charles’ frantic witness protection marshall (Tom Arnold), Kristen Bell’s character’s jealous ex-boyfriend (Michael Rosenbaum), and Charles’ revenge-driven ex-partner-in-crime (Bradley Cooper). On their way to Los Angeles, Kristen (as I’ll refer to Kristen Bell’s character from now on) gradually learns about Charles’ past and the real reason behind his witness protection.
Even though the premise is a bit improbable, there are very real emotions involved in “Hit and Run.” Charles and his finacee may be arguing about his bank-robbing past, but they sound very similar to arguments I have had in relationships. Most movies seem to stray away from the small details in relationships, but those subtleties are what makes or breaks the romance. “Hit and Run” seems to be made up of those very real details wrapped up as a wacky cromadey (cromadey = crime + romance + comedy). The usually cheesy pillow talk is fairly easy to swallow. It seems to be derived from experience rather than fantasy. The same can be said about the uncomfortable friction between the two when they argue. Writing this next sentence emasculated my naturally rugged machismo: It is my belief that Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s real life romance added to “Hit and Run’s” charm.
I give a lot of credit to Dax Shepard and David Palmer’s direction. There are a lot of highly-stylized sequences but they kept the camera wide when it came to conversations. This is a risky choice for they can’t bank on the editing to save them if the actors’ rhythms are not exactly fluid. It shows a lot of trust and confidence in the direction, actors, and script. Plus, it worked well.
Even though the cast was seemingly pulled out of a hat, they all play well off each other. Tom Arnold is wacky and fun, Bradley Cooper is somewhere in-between threatening and ironically threatening, and Michael Rosenbaum is delightfully annoying. There are also two reoccurring police officers that are pleasant reprieves in car chases, played by Jesse Rowland and Kal Bennett.
My only real gripe with “Hit and Run’ is Dax Shepard’s character. He seems to walk the line a little too well. He was a criminal but he never seems to fall off the deep end or make a selfish decision. He can be sensitive or tough when the situation calls for it without a turbulent transition.
Overall, “Hit and Run” is a fun mix of genres that’s generally well-made. It’s heartfelt, funny, and, at times, thrilling. It’s also nice seeming a movie that has car chases without being a “Fast and the Furious” movie.
RANDOM BITS AND STUFF
-I attended a screening that had a Q&A from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. Dax said he did his own stunt driving but then said any actor who says they do their own stunt driving is full of shit… what am I supposed to believe?
-The poster for “Hit and Run” makes little sense to me.
-Tom Arnold looks exactly the same.
-”Zathura” is underrated.