Hit and Run
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 9th September 2012
Knowing nothing about it before the opening titles rolled, having seen neither poster nor trailer, Hit and Run promptly socked me between the eyes and left me swooning – head over heels in love.
It opens with a beautiful, moving, heartfelt pep-talk between two lovers. Annie and Charlie have been dating for a year, though they treat one another with the touching sensitivity of a couple still living the opening bars of love’s great symphony. She has a doctorate in non-violent conflict resolution and a career path which is about to bring the couple to a crossroads. He’s – well, it’s not immediately clear, but Charlie seems to have some big secret that will explain his odd relationship with the trigger-happy, angst-ridden Randy (nice to see Tom Arnold back again). Part of the charm of this madcap tale is that it leads us on a merry dance (rapidly turning into a road trip/ escapade across America, with baddies in hot pursuit), and as an audience we don’t know our destination until we get there.
Our Pied Piper is a charismatic, genuine, sensitive-new-age-guy-with-an-alter-ego-in-his-past played by Punk’d’s Dax Shepard. Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) plays it just as light against Shepard’s naturalistic, oft-improvised performance, and given he wrote and co-directed the film, no doubt the couple’s real-life relationship leaked somewhat into its creation.
Glee’s Kristin Chenoweth appears as the crass-talking school supervisor full of good advice. Having cast old friends Bradley Cooper (dreadlocked and complex in his moral judgements) and Arnold, for once this film is as enjoyable to watch as it must have been to make.
It’s not about the plot, which merely provides the mechanics on which to balance a snappy script and some playing-against-type by the leads. But by turns hilarious, silly, honest and violent, Hit and Run is a gleeful update on the True Romance date movie, where even burnouts are romantic.