When the everyday citizen wants to bond or express their commitment to their spouse (or spouses depending on your moral beliefs), they go on dates, get married, get matching tattoos or something like that. While those things do happen in Hollywood, they sometimes do things that us normal folks can't do. For example, they decide to show their love by doing movies together and get it released all over the world. That's what Dax Shepard does when he works with his real life partner Kristin Bell in his movie Hit and Run.
Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is a young guy who lives with the love of his life Annie (Kristin Bell). All is going fine until Annie gets a job offer in Los Angeles. The couple decide that it's best for her to take the job and then pack up and hit the road for the city of angels. What seemed like a normal plan ends up being very problematic for the team. They run into some familiar foes who are out to for justice and some law enforcement officers who don't seem to know what they're doing.
Dax Shepard is known as somewhat of a comedian by people who have seen him throughout his career. If you know anything about him, Hit and Run appears to be the type of movie that he would write and star in. It's one of those casual B movies that most will view as uncomplicated and that looks to be his style.
There's some decent comedy in Hit and Run that you may be able to get some laughs out of, but a good portion of it misses its mark. Although that's a large problem with the comedy, that's not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the fact that there's not much comedy to speak of. This is more of a movie with romantic themes than it is a movie with comedic themes. The romance aspect of the film fills up so much of the film's running time that it doesn't allow for the amount of comedy that I thought there was going to be.
His character fits this romantic approach more than it would a straight up comedic one. I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but he plays a lovelorn and emasculated guy who's girlfriend appears to have his balls comfortably tucked away in her purse. It looks like she didn't even have to forcefully take them from him. It appears that he willingly gave them to her with a smile on his face. He's constantly whining and bending over backwards for her and it gets aggravating to watch after awhile.
When he's not doing that, he's kissing her, hugging her and essentially telling her how perfect she is and that makes it even worse. They even have a picture of him kissing her as the wallpaper on his laptop. I expected some romantic stuff and I don't have a problem with that, but I don't really enjoy seeing what's supposed to be a crude comedy where normal but obsessive love appears to be the main focus on far too many occasions. As an audience, we're forced to sit through this and hear this couple blabber on about their relationship, their trust issues and how bad and offensive the use of a certain gay slur might be.
Although it may not be a big deal to some, that last part that I just pointed out stuck out to me and it illustrates a flaw in the writing. It's compared to racial slurs at one point and that's dumb in the eyes of many, but it's also mishandled based on the way it fits in with the rest of the movie. You can't make it a point to say that using that word is wrong only to have the same character who said you should never use that or any word that can be seen as derogatory use a word similar to it later on and have no one react to it or even acknowledge it. That's seems hypocritical and ignorant and as a writer, your essentially admitting that you don't know what some of these words mean.
There are other things in the movie that didn't make much sense either, but that one was one of the more egregious errors that stuck in my head and it was clearly a part of the political correctness agenda that this movie seemed to have on a few occasions. I don't have a problem with people being PC or anything, but you should leave that to the more knowledgeable people who know how to properly talk about these subjects. Plus, I don't think that a crude comedy is the best place to try to promote some of these messages anyway. Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing and nobody else really cares, but I just thought the way Shepard handled it in his script defeated the purpose of bringing it up in the first place.
Anyway, aside from the two love birds who spend most of their time talking about their relationship, most of the other characters don't really have much to do. Bradley Cooper is shown quite a bit in the trailers and commercials that I've seen, but he doesn't even really show up until later on in the movie. When he does pop up, he's in a few scenes and at least a few of his jokes are funny, but he and his gang are completely underutilized. I was shocked that Michael Rosenbaum got just as much if not more screen time than Cooper does and I don't think that they even show him in the trailers or commercials once.
These other guys that include Cooper and Rosenbaum are the ones that usually provide Hit and Run with its comedy. If it wasn't for them, the film couldn't have been considered a comedy at all, because the scenes with Shepard and Bell don't really provide anything to laugh at. The most consistent actor out of this group of role players is Tom Arnold. There's nothing impressive about him and he plays the same loud character that he always does, but he at least tries to keep the laughs coming from the very beginning. The rest of the role players didn't even get that chance since they don't have that many scenes.
Shepard and Bell sharing the overwhelming majority of the screen time hurt the movie overall because of this. They should have found more time to give to the other characters that are easily more interesting and at least a little more entertaining. Even if they did get on camera more, I don't know if the movie would have been a whole lot better than it actually is. That's because the script could have used more work in general and Dax Shepard would most likely still be the one writing it.
When I look at everything in this movie, Hit and Run looks like it's made by a man in love who decided to work with his sweetheart and give her top billing even though his character is actually the star in my humble opinion. I'm not going to really knock him wanting to work with Bell and they do have some nice and legitimate chemistry working in their favor as a couple. I just wish that the overall movie was better and the PC stuff was done properly if it's going to be used to help tell a story. If these two tag up together again, hopefully for my sake and theirs, they will be working with some better material.
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: August 22, 2012
Distributor: Open Road Films