HIT AND RUN
Former getaway driver Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is living quietly in the Witness Protection Program after testifying against his former gang Alex Dmitri (Bradley Cooper) and Allen (Ryan Hansen) when their bank robbery went wrong and they shot a guard. He jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity when he agrees to urgently drive his new, post-criminal persona girlfriend Annie Bean (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles for a rare career opportunity. But her ex boyfriend Gil Rathbinn (Michael Rosenbaum) instigates a deadly chase involving the former gang members as well as the cops, when he tries to interfere with Charlie and Annie's plans
Review by Andrew L. Urban
Constantly catching us by surprise and endlessly tickling our sense of humour, Hit and Run is one of this year's hits - so run and see it. The screenplay is superbly crafted to stay this side of credibility while teasing us with its absurd, outrageous developments and characters.
Absolutely compelling performances drive the film's crazy heart but there is also a hefty dose of rev-head action as Charlie Bronson takes the covers off the all-black, 700 horsepower 1967 Lincoln Continental custom built with his dad (Beau Bridges) and roars down the road. The car chases (and three amazing cars themselves) deliver thrills and spills with comedy, but while the comedy is at times quite broad, it never swerves into farce. The danger remains very real to our hero and his girl, with the well meaning good guys nearly as deadly as the bad meaning bad guys.
Notably dangerous good guy is the Marshall (Tom Arnold, spectacular) whose weapon fumbling manner has had him demoted to the babysitting role in the Witness Protection Program. His baby is Charlie. Again, the filmmakers push the comedy to the edge of farce, but hold it on the brink to make sure the film retains its dark, edgy blade.
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are wonderful together - or apart - and Bradley Cooper is excellent as the crim desperate to not only make his treacherous ex getaway driver pay with his skin, but also with the cash.
Road movie, thriller, black comedy and romance all rolled into one tight, hugely entertaining package, this one is not to be missed.
Review by Louise Keller:
It's the delightfully offbeat nature of the characters in Dax Shepard's Hit and Run that manages to tap into life's crevices and allows us to come up smiling. A getaway driver under witness protection, the girlfriend who specialises in conflict resolution, an accident prone homosexual security guard, a jealous new age guy and a maniacal bank robber with a grudge are the key characters that are thrown together in crazy situations that result in an infectious ride on the wild side.
Nothing is predictable. It all starts with lively pillow talk between Charlie Bronson (Shepard) and Annie Bean (Kristen Bell), followed by a chance for her dream job, from the lips of Debby Kreeger, a cynical, Xanax-popping blonde (Kristin Chenoweth). This is just a preamble to the set up that takes us from the small town of Milton situated in the middle of nowhere to Los Angeles where the job interview waits. Everything is let loose as we bound headlong into a road movie, with hilarious consequences.
It's upbeat, fast and funny and Shepard pushes the envelope right to the boundaries - like the running gag in which Charlie and Annie are given the keys to the wrong motel room, only to discover a 'real live lemon party' with ageing, naked swingers - all over 55 and overweight. Then there's the absurdity of Charlie's obsession in finding out the nationality of the jailbird who violated Bradley Cooper's manic bank robber. Cooper's dreadlocks are as dreadful as his clothes. I especially like the way music is used as a counterpoint to the craziness.
Much fuss is made of the 1967 black custom-built Lincoln Continental with the 700 horse power engine - the alleged dream car of rapists. There's some wild driving, too and the finale brings a Tatum Sandcar that looks a bit like a blue spider with huge wheeled haunches.
Each of the characters contributes to the offbeat nature of the narrative. Tom Arnold is wonderful as Randy, the fumbling, hopeless Witness Protection Marshall whose car and gun seem to have a mind of their own while Jess Rowland is hilarious as Terry Rathbinn, the local sheriff whose favourite phone App is called Pouncer, enabling him to locate and identify other homosexuals wanting action. Michael Rosenbaum plays Gil, the jealous ex with firm abs, and Beau Bridges is a nice surprise as Charlie's estranged dad.
This wacky, vibrant film has HIT written all over it and the talented Shepard manages to makes it fresh; a little like the first Hangover film, leaving us with nothing but a broad smile and a lust for life.
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HIT AND RUN (MA15+)
CAST: Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Rosenbaum, David Koechner, Beau Bridges, Joy Bryant, Tom Arnold, Ryan Hansen
PRODUCER: Andrew Panay, Nate Tuck, Kim Waltrip, Howard Young
DIRECTOR: David Palmer, Dax Shepard
SCRIPT: Dax Shepard
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bradley Stonesifer
EDITOR: Keith Croket
MUSIC: Robert Mervak, Julian Wass
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Emily Bloom
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Pinnacle Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 6, 2012
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays in February, following a FREE introductory screening on February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.