“Hit And Run”
By MICHAEL WALTERS
“Hit And Run” is a gear-head car chase comedy that doesn’t just run out of gas, it never even gets out of the driveway. It tries to pass itself off as a shiny vintage 1967 Lincoln Continental, when it’s really more like a ’63 Corvair. Unsafe at any speed indeed.
Dax Shepard stars as a former getaway driver named Charles Bronson (ho-ho) now in the witness protection program. His real life fiance Kristen Bell plays his girlfriend, a professor with a doctorate in non-violent resolution. He skips out of the program to drive her to a job interview in Los Angeles. And before you know it they’re being chased by a bumbling U.S. Marshall (Tom Arnold), Bell’s ex-boyfriend who dreams of winning her back, and Shepard’s former cohorts in crime led by a dreadlocked Bradley Cooper.
Dax Shepard may be a fine person in real life, but on-screen, he’s a harbinger of comic doom. According to the press notes, Shepard (who wrote and co-directed) conceived of this low budget production as his homage to the Burt Reynolds car chase comedies of the late 70′s and ’80′s such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Cannonball Run.” But to call his approach ham-fisted implies too much subtlety. It’s shocking how badly the scenes are set up, directed, and then executed seemingly with a sledgehammer. Tom Arnold is particularly galling as the hapless Marshall who starts off by shooting out the windows of his own minivan. His vehicular hijinks start off merely annoying and inconceivably stupid, and then progress to mind numbing before finally becoming borderline intolerable.
Kristen Bell however has what I call the Anna Farris problem. She’s an immensely watchable and likeable comic performer, but she’s rarely in anything worth her comedic talents. She and Shepard have an easy going chemistry on-screen, but they’re rarely saying or doing anything that is even remotely funny. In the end this movie is just a testosterone amped jalopy burning rubber and going around in circles.