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Hit and Run

Hit and Run

Released 12 October 2012
Director Dax Shephard

Kristen Bell, Dax Shephard, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Michael Rosenbaum
Writer(s) Dax Shephard

Andrew Panay, Nate Tuck, Kim Waltrip
Origin United States
Running Time 100 minutes
Genre Action, comedy, romance
Rating TBC

Hit and miss (and miss again).

A shameless vanity project, Hit and Run is written, co-directed and co-produced by Dax Shephard, who also plays the lead and dishes out roles to fiancée Kristen Bell and mates Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold. A fast car enthusiast, Shephard has obviously seen one too many crime caper road movies, and tries desperately to emulate them. Making plenty of references to True Romance and Badlands, Hit and Run ends up more of a straight-to-DVD version.

Shephard plays Charlie Bronson, a man with a shady past in the witness protection programme living a carefree small town life with his girlfriend Annie (Bell). But when Annie is offered her dream job in Los Angeles (the place where his troubles occurred) Charlie decides to go AWOL and gives his beau a lift across the country, much against the wishes of the bumbling US Marshal in charge of his safety (Arnold), who follows the pair. They encounter further trouble when Annie’s moronic ex and a few former pals of Charlie’s (led by Cooper) also pick up their scent.

With Shephard’s past credits including a few middling-to-terrible comedies and the unwatchable Ashton Kutcher fronted MTV show Punk’d, how he thought he could get away with playing a badass called Charlie Bronson is unfathomable. And the True Romance references are positively grating; every now and then a xylophone creeps into the score and Cooper’s character seems a clone of Gary Oldman’s pimp.

While the on-screen chemistry between real-life couple Shephard and Bell is good, some of their private jokes and mannerisms are mind-numbingly annoying; they call each other pet names like ‘Fat Ass’ and argue over whether or not it’s ever acceptable to use the word ‘fag’. Cooper gets most of the best lines and proves that he can give a decent performance when restricted to a support role, while a running joke involving Tom Arnold’s marshal and a gay hook-up app providing the biggest laughs. But when Tom Arnold is one of the best things about a movie, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

Billed as an action comedy, Hit and Run never really delivers on either end; the laughs are few and far between and the car chases are somewhat sloppy. That being said, it is slightly watchable, if only for a memorable cameo from Jason Bateman in the final scene.

- Cathal Prendergast