Directed by Akiva Schaffer.
Written by Pam Brady.
Starring Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Isla Fisher and Ian McShane.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 7/30/07
When I got an e-mail for a free showing for
"Hot Rod", I jumped on it; I didn't really want to see "Hot Rod",
but I definitely didn't want to pay for it, so this was right in my
wheelhouse. My friends Ross and "The Professional", our man
Gordon, made it a threesome and we checked this one out.
Andy Samberg stars as Rod, the son of a dead
stuntman legend, and in trying to continue his father's extensive
legacy Rod has proven to be a bit of a loser. His stunts
absolutely suck--thanks in part to a "crew" of completely untrained
professionals that include a ramp guy who can't build ramps (Danny
R. McBride), a mechanic who can't build a bike (Bill Hader, who also
appears in "Superbad"),
and a crew chief/foster brother (Jorma Taccone) who can't do
anything except film Rod's horrible stunts. Rod lives at home
and can't even punch his foster dad (Ian McShane) in their daily
basement fistfights; his luck with the ladies can best be described
as "non-existent." But, when his foster dad gets sick to the
point of needing an operation, it's up to Rod to gather the money
for an operation that could save his life...and, he'll perform as
many stunts as he can to raise money for his foster dad's cause.
To sum up the comedy in "Hot Rod": fucking
crazy random. And I mean, random! Maybe it was the
it was the random Asian-groupie-crotch-thrusting; maybe it was the
ramp guy's decision to beat the living hell out of an unsuspecting
victim of a streetboard accident. Or maybe it was the
newswoman who started her report by talking about a dog that came
home and ordered a pizza. Whatever the case may be, "Hot Rod"
gets both good and bad mileage from comedy that only really made
sense to the writer/director team on this movie. As such,
there are stretches where jokes fall completely flat.
And, there are times--at least five--where I
almost couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard.
It is this inconsistency that brings the
film's overall grade down; kind of like other great "moments"
and Kumar Go to White Castle" comes to mind), you should still
see "Hot Rod" because some of these extended bits are so fantastic.
Isla Fisher provides decent eye candy; Chris Parnell (Samberg's
partner in the now-classic "Lazy Sunday" SNL bit) appears as the
owner of an AM radio station and shows off maybe the funniest tattoo
in film history; the sham stunts that Rod gets into really are
pretty funny. Not so funny was Will Arnett, oh-for-two this
year in comedies after he blew it in
Glory" and then again in this film; maybe it's the writing, or
maybe it's Arnett, or maybe it's both, but he has just been bad so
far this year in the two movies I have seen featuring him.
You'll be very happy you followed my advice
if you see this movie on a Sunday afternoon with some friends; good
enough, but better if you see it on the cheap. For good
comedy, you've got other options right now, since
"Knocked Up", "Superbad"
Simpsons Movie" are all more consistent than "Hot Rod"...but, it
will still be fun to see what Samberg & Co. will do next.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard