Hit and Run

Directed by: David Palmer and Dax Shepard

Starring:  Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Joy Bryant, Kristin Chenoweth

Dax Shepard has come a long way since pulling pranks on MTV’s Punk’d.  Shepard wrote, directed and starred in the new film Hit and Run.  The film follows Charlie Bronson (Shepard), who has been hiding in the witness protection program for four years in the middle of nowhere. Charlie is protected by accident-prone U.S. Marshall Randy (Tom Arnold), and he lives with his girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell). 

Charlie and Annie are living an idyllic life until Annie gets an amazing opportunity to interview for a university department head position in Los Angeles.  The problem is that L.A. is where Charlie witnessed a crime and going back to California would put his life in jeopardy.  Annie is willing to pass up the opportunity, but Charlie gasses up his old car and decides to drive Annie across the country so that she can interview for the new position.

Mayhem ensues as the two hit the road.  Annie’s jealous ex-boyfriend Gil (Michael Rosenbaum) uncovers Charlie’s real name and locates Alex Dimitri (Bradley Cooper), the murderer who is after Charlie.  Gil not only friends Dimitri on Facebook, but he coordinates with the killer to track down Charlie and Annie.  The film follows Annie, Charlie, Dimitri, Randy and a host of other players as they race across the country.  For Charlie, his past is literally catching up with him and he is forced to reveal his true background.  Annie has to decide if she can love him in spite of his past life.

Hit and Run is fun at times, but uneven.  It is a romantic comedy, action movie, and crime romp all rolled into one.  However, it fluctuates between the genres and does not completely commit to being zany.  The film jumps between smart, sarcastic dialogue and unfunny slapstick.  I just couldn’t decide whether the film was taking itself seriously or was making fun of its own ridiculousness (i.e. Bradley Cooper’s atrocious dreadlocks).  At the end of the film, the one other viewer in the theater said, “I don’t know what to make of that, but it was mindless entertainment.”  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was “mindless,” but I understood what she was saying.  The film just felt a little random.

With all of that being said, Hit and Run has some bright spots and a few laugh out loud moments.  I thought the chemistry between Annie and Charlie was genuine and their interactions and dialogue were interesting to watch.  Dax Shepard has an edge that makes him appealing and believable as a comedic leading man with a dark past. In addition, while I am not a Tom Arnold fan and he initially was poised to annoy me as usual, his pathetic, but earnest character actually grew on me too.  Some surprise cameos bring chuckles as well.

I would not recommend spending money to see Hit and Run, but I would watch it on cable.  For that reason, I have to give it a strong 0.09% rating.  Have a margarita with this one.