When you name a movie Hit & Run (H&R), viewers expect to be shocked by high velocity racing scenes, big name stars, and enough laughter to keep them interested. What’s actually delivered is a movie that will both surprise and catch you completely off guard, for what that’s worth. I have decided that a better name for this film would be simply, Run.
H&R revolves around a couple from a small town. Annie (Kristen Bell) and Charlie (Dax Shepard) seem to have a cozy life together and a fun relationship. When Annie is offered a big job opportunity in Los Angeles, we quickly find out that Charlie is in the Witness Protection Program. Throwing caution to the wind, Charlie determines that his girlfriend is more important to him than his safety, and decides to move with her to the one place in America where his life is in jeopardy. Throw in a long road trip, a wacky band of criminals (including Bradley Cooper), a phone app called Pounce, fast cars, a crazed ex-boyfriend, and a bumbling US Marshall (Tom Arnold), and you’ve got a recipe for antics galore.
Actually, I take that back. ‘Antics’ really isn’t the word for it. Nothing about H&R was remotely crazy, creative, or even fun. It is a stretch to call this one a ‘comedy’ or an ‘action movie’. The entire movie took place on the road to LA, and most of that took place in the car, focused on the relationship between Charlie and Annie. Annie didn’t know why Charlie was in Witness Protection or even what his real name was. After an hour of no substantial events happening beside an examination of how important trust is in a relationship, I couldn’t wait for the end to come.
Dax Shepard not only starred in this one, by he also wrote and co-directed it. He admits that his inspiration came from Bandit, and while you can see hints of that in H&R, it proved to be beyond his reach. Admittedly, Bell and Shepard are entirely tuned in to each other throughout the film, which is a blessing in this age of severely manufactured chemistry. It doesn’t hurt that the two of them are dating in real life. It’s no surprise that Tom Arnold really hams it up as the Marshall charged with keeping Charlie safe. Between his take on the character and what was written for him, he was so incredibly annoying to watch, that it takes you out of the film completely. Cooper did his thing, and while he portrayed his bank robber character to a tee, again it was the writing that fell short.
In fact, everything that was wrong with this movie had to do with the writing. There were a couple of fabulously shot segments, and genuinely funny moments of situational humor, but everything else just dragged. H&R preferred chattiness to momentum, making the viewer desperate to “turn the car around” if there was anymore talking. It felt as though Dax was trying to pull off a bit of Coen Brothers flair by having internally conflicted characters, but it just fell flat. Hit & Run was simply trying too hard to be interesting and quirky, and leaving us bored and frustrated in it’s wake. The best part of the film was the soundtrack. Overall, H&R seems like an incredibly boring excuse for a few actors to drive fast, do mild racing stunts, and call that a movie.
I give Hit & Run 1 “Lemon Party” out of 5.
by Rachael Edwards