Let me preface this review by saying that I did not go to the movies intending to see Dax Shepard’s “Hit & Run” (the film was written, co-produced, co-directed and stars the “Parenthood” star). Rush hour traffic robbed my girlfriend and I the opportunity to see “The Expendables 2”, and rather than waiting 2 hours or seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” (again), we settled on this film neither of us had ever heard of.
The plot is straightforward — though it takes more than half movie before our villains’ motives to become clear. Charlie (Shepard) is a former getaway driver now in the witness protection program. He lives in a podunk town with his girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell), who teaches at a local community college. Their lives are peaceful and sweet, save for the escapades of Randy (Tom Arnold) — the US Marshal assigned to protect Charlie who is prone to inadvertently discharging his weapon and crashing his minivan. Thankfully, this state of affairs don’t last too long (actually, it kinda does). Eventually, though, Annie is offered the job of a lifetime in LA. This spells bad news for Charlie: LA is where his former accomplices — headed by Alex (Bradley Cooper, sporting white guy dreadlocks) — still operate. Still, Charlie cannot abide life without his dainty tawny-headed love, and he resolves to drive her to LA for her interview. When Alex is tipped off to Charlie’s whereabouts, a mad caper ensues.
There are wise-cracks. There are car chases. There are gross out scenes too (geriatric full-frontals, anyone?). The problem is, there aren’t enough of ‘em (well… there are enough nekkid old people, that schtick is really only funny once). The movie takes its time and enjoys every scene, playing them for far more than they’re worth. The humor is down to earth and well-played, but the romance and action feel repetitive.
This problem is exacerbated by how genuinely realistic the film feels. The car chases look exactly like what I’d imagine real car chases look like. The most impressive stunt involves jumping a couple cars via dirt ramp — in other words, it’s on par with every episode of “The Dukes of Hazard”. Similarly, couples have the same arguments over and over in real life — but who wants to watch them?
This slow pacing and repetitive content rips all tension from the plot. I was far more curious what stupid thing Randy was going to do next than worried Charlie and Annie might actually be in some kind of danger. In truth, Randy (Tom Arnold’s character) is the best thing this movie has going for it, but it isn’t the only thing. I know I’ve been pretty harsh, but this film — a love letter to the budget action flicks of the 60’s and 70’s — is simply made with too much love. It has been smothered by that secret ingredient, now lacking in so many films. At the end of the day, the hijinks of “Hit & Run” are fun, if often slow. If you’re a fan of those old B-movies, rent this on a rainy day to watch with your special someone.