Directors: David Palmer, Dax Shepard
Starring: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper
Running Time: 100 mins
Release: October 12th
When your two biggest claims to fame are being incredibly irritating on Punk’d, and being engaging to Kristen Bell, it’s difficult for you to be likable; you’re annoying and lucky—Nobody likes someone lucky. How is it then that Dax Shepard manages to be incredibly likable in a movie he co-wrote and directed? That he manages it with aplomb is all the more impressive.
Shepard plays Charlie Bronson (yup), a man in witness protection in a tiny, dull town in Northern California. His lovely and loving girlfriend Annie (Bell) is offered a dream job in L.A. Despite that being the last place he wants to be anywhere near, Charlie decides to damn the odds and drive her there, setting up a long road trip where pretty much everyone is trying to kill him, including but not limited to a former acquaintance, an ex of Annie’s and the US Marshal in charge of Charlie’s safety.
The road trip sets up an excuse to introduce Charlie’s souped-up Lincoln and a variety of other beautiful cars, all of which are owned by Shepard himself, who ditches his babies with commendable abandon. He also acts as producer, stunt driver and arranged for most of the actors to work for free. That this is the film he committed so fully to is odd, as there’s not much to it. The central romance is understandably believable, some of the miscreants trailing them are hilarious and Shepard himself is really very good.
Unfortunately, the road movie element, romance and comedy elements are somewhat intractable, even if each is pulled off relatively successfully in their own right. Tom Arnold is also in this movie, and that should never happen.
Hopefully Hit and Run will go down as the dry run for the great action movie that Dax Shepard goes on to make, as he clearly has the ability and drive to do so. Currently, all he is is a formerly annoying and lucky git who worked very hard to make an alright-ish movie.