“Former getaway driver Charlie Bronson jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend get to Los Angeles. The feds and Charlie’s former gang chase them on the road.”
Directed by: David Palmer, Dax Shepard Rated: R, 100 mins
This post was originally written by Page. Find her @PageMarieH
Hit and Run received lukewarm reviews when it premiered last summer. As a fan of Kristen Bell, I was eager to watch this film, but after hearing the critics, I decided to wait until it hit Redbox. I was pleasantly surprised by this raunchy and romantic comedy and think it was well worth my one dollar rental fee.
Annie Bean (Kristen Bell) has met the love of her life, Charles Bronson (Dax Shepard) in the small town of Milton, California. They are both content to spend their lives there together until Annie gets a job offer in LA – the city Charlie can never return to. After witnessing a bank robbery there four years earlier, he was enrolled in Witness Protection and given a new identity. Charlie decides it is worth the risk to make Annie happy, so the two hit the road to LA. Unfortunately, it is anything but smooth sailing as Annie uncovers secrets from Charlie’s past and Charlie’s old friends. Add to that, Annie’s ex decide it’s time to become reacquainted.
This movie packs in a lot of laughs and a fair amount of ridiculous muscle car chasing. The film was written and co-directed by Dax Shepard, and while some of the jokes are a miss, I found the humor overall to be very enjoyable. I think that with more practice and maybe a little input from other comedy writers, Shepard could certainly make some more successful comedies. The dialogue resembles that of a Tarantino film, and there’s even a real Lemon Party (if you don’t know what that is, don’t bother Googling – it’s better not to know). Charlie and Annie share a handful of mushy moments throughout the film, but overall I wouldn’t consider Hit and Run to be your average sappy romantic comedy.
Scenes with Charlie and his former friend, Alex (Bradley Cooper) feel a little bit awkward but also genuine, which makes me wonder if they were actually improvised. Cooper is hilarious with his dreadlocks, track suits, and criminal girlfriend Neve (Joy Bryant). Many of the laughs also come from Annie’s egotistical ex-boyfriend, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum), and his brother and bumbling policeman, Terry (Jess Rowland). The scenes between Shepard and Bell are spot on. They have been real-life lovers for years, and on screen their chemistry is unmistakable.
The heart of the film is the question of whether or not a person’s past informs their future. When Annie meets Charlie, she quickly falls in love with his character and charm. She struggles with the secrets hidden in his past even though he tries to convince her he is the same man she fell in love with. Their arguments on the way to LA are referring to bank robberies, but could easily take place between any two people in a relationship. Annie demands, “How many were there?! When? With whom?” You can see how this may have played out in private before it made it on screen.
One of my critiques of the film is that logic goes completely out the window. After the events that take place, nobody in their right mind would continue on to LA for a job interview. However, it’s a comedy and I’m willing to put away my thinking cap for a couple hours and be forgiving. My other gripe is that it is rather inconsistent. Some scenes are hilarious while others had me rolling my eyes. The car chases are a bit indulgent but gave the film a sort of Smokey and the Bandit vibe. Still, probably a third of them could have been cut and the film wouldn’t have suffered.
Hit and Run is everything you’d expect from an R-rated romantic comedy, plus car chases. That alone should convince you to spend the buck at Redbox to see it. Plus, Kristen Bell. She’s like an adorable puppy mixed with sunshine wrapped up in a bow. Maybe I have a celebrity girl crush on her – don’t judge me.