Monday, March 04, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Hit & Run (2012) **½

R, 100 min.
Directors: Dax Shepard, David Palmer
Writer: Dax Shepard
Starring: Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Rosenbaum, Jess Rowland, Joy Bryant, Ryan Hansen, Carly Hatter, David Koechner, Beau Bridges, Sean Hayes

Actor, writer, director Dax Shepard has said that his main inspiration for his directorial debut “Hit & Run” were films that featured classic car chases, like “Smokey and the Bandit”. He said that he liked that movie’s combination of cars and comedy. “Hit & Run” obviously comes from the heart. You can see Shepard’s passion for the material, and it isn’t bad. It just isn’t good enough to fully recommend.

The story involves a guy played by Shepard who is in witness protection. His girlfriend is a teacher who gets a job offer for her very specialized expertise in L.A. The problem is that the people he’s being protected from are in L.A. and she has a limited time to take up the university on their offer. From this Shepard tries to build a plausible but light action comedy. While Shepard has a gift for quips, I think he’d be better off leaning more serious in his screenplay, which has more heart in it than laughs.

There is one thing he could’ve used more of from his model “Smokey and the Bandit”, however. His character needed to live up to his driving skills. His secret past is that he was a great getaway driver, yet it seems that just about every yokel in this movie can drive the same places he does and keep up with him without a problem. He should be the superior driver here, and like the Bandit, he should put all his enemies to shame on the road. That makes it more difficult to find reasons why they can’t get away, but it would make for more interesting chase sequences.

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