I can’t tell you the number of “comedy” films I’ve seen which may have elicited, at best, a chuckle or two rather than the hilarity promised. Thus, I’m often weary when thinking of putting on a comedy. However, when I first heard of the 2012 film Hit and Run, I was intrigued. The movie seemed to come out of nowhere and the critics were relatively kind to it. But what interested me the most was their description of what the film was: A romantic comedy that was also a throwback to 1970’s car chase films.
Man, its been a while since those type of films were released, having buried themselves in mediocrity or worse in the 1980’s. So, when the film made it to home video, I had to give it a shot. The result proved a pleasant diversion and certainly a decent enough time killer.
Hit and Run’s plot isn’t all that original and I got more than a little wiff of Ron Howard’s directorial debut, 1977’s Grand Theft Auto (no relation to the popular video game series) in its Romeo & Juliet-like plot. Grand Theft Auto featured two young lovers on the run from assorted crazy people, including the female lead’s ex-lover. In Hit and Run, we have Kristen Bell playing Annie Bean, a teacher who has been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave her small town and become the department head at a school in Los Angeles. The only complication is that her boyfriend, Charles Bronson (yes, you read that name right and there’s a definite joke involved in this), played by Dax Shepard, is in the witness protection program and venturing outside of that small town could be hazardous to his health.
Nonetheless, the two do venture outside their small town with a very tight deadline to reach L.A. Along the way, they quickly are pursued by Annie’s ex-boyfriend, the Marshall assigned to protect Charles, a pair of cops, and, finally, member’s of Bronson’s ex-gang.
There are plenty of amusing cameos (and one larger cameo by Bradley Cooper) that liven things up. Unlike the car chase movies of the 1970’s, there is precious little actual vehicular mayhem in this film. There are a few chases and they’re reasonably well done, but unlike Grand Theft Auto, there’s very little actual wreckage to be seen.
As a comedy, the movie works for the most part, drawing laughs from dialogue and situations. Having said that, there are occasions where a joke was pushed along a little too much. Without giving too much away, one of the movie’s funniest jokes involves one of the character’s “adventures” while in prison. The joke builds to a hilarious punchline, but once it is reached the characters talk on for another couple of minutes and effectively dampen what should have been a hilarious bit.
In other words, some judicious trimming might have helped.
Still, Hit and Run is a decent if not spectacular film to spend a couple of hours with. Afterwards, you may want to dust off your copy of Smokey and the Bandit and give it a whirl.
I’ve provided the trailer below but if you’re planning to see the film I suggest you don’t play it. Like too many trailers, it gives away the biggest joke (but stops where it should have!)
And now, a blast from the past…the trailer to Grand Theft Auto!