Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Hit and Run

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Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell in Hit and Run. Photo / Supplied
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell in Hit and Run. Photo / Supplied

Sometimes a film's title tells us almost all we need to know. Hit and Run certainly delivers a good hit first-up, starting out as a sassy, witty and somewhat off-kilter romantic comedy with some laugh-out-loud one-liners.

Unfortunately it then runs out of momentum and turns into a pretty stock-standard car chase movie.

Hit and Run is the brainchild of writer, actor and director Dax Shepard (Parenthood), who has made a film featuring his favourite things in the world; His fiancee, actress Kristen Bell, and his car collection.

If you throw into the mix inspiration from one of Shepard's favourite childhood films, 1979's Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds, it's easy to see how we get to Hit and Run.

Shepard plays Charlie Bronson, a good guy with a dodgy past who's living in a small Californian town under the Witness Protection Programme. When his relatively new girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell), gets an interview for a dream job in Los Angeles, Charlie decides to leave the programme and drive her there.

What starts as a simple lovers' road-trip doesn't take long to degenerate into chaos, with the couple pursued by Charlie's bumbling US Marshall supervisor (Tom Arnold), Annie's jealous ex (Michael Rosenbaum), a couple of dim-witted cops, and a few of Charlie's unsavoury former colleagues, led by a dreadlocked Bradley Cooper. Everybody it seems, either wants to save or eliminate Charlie.

Shepard and Bell sizzle on screen together. Even as their relationship starts to crumble - it turns out Charlie hasn't been completely honest as to why he was in the Witness Protection Programme - they are still the most sane and likeable characters on display.

Bradley Cooper doesn't do so well. His white boy from the ghetto act, with his dreadlocks and yellow tinted glasses, is amusing but forced and a bit left-field.

Cooper looks like he's auditioning for a Tarantino film, while everyone else has adopted a slapstick approach and keeps it to relatively simple gags, like Arnold's clumsy cop who can't draw his gun without accidentally firing it,

Those with a passion for cars - in particular anyone fond of American classics - will enjoy this endless car chase, but the rest of us will wonder where the witty romance went.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper
Directors: David Palmer and Dax Shepard
Running Time: 100 mins
Rating: M (Contains violence, sexual references and offensive language)
Verdict: A hit and miss rom-com.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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