Oct 17 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Hit & Run
If the name Dax Shepard doesn’t mean anything to you then don’t worry.
Unless you were one of the unlucky ones to sit through ‘comedies’ Without a Paddle or Employee of the Month it’s unlikely you’ll recognise him.
The comic actor not only stars in action comedy Hit & Run but co-directs and writes the story too and whether you warm to Shepard will likely determine if you like this film.
But as someone who has seen his aforementioned ‘hits’, this is a slight improvement.
Shepard plays former getaway driver Charlie Bronson who risks his Witness Protection identity to help girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell) get to Los Angeles for a job interview.
What ensues is an increasingly sillier sequence of events taking in a barrel load of supporting characters.
Shepard and fellow inexperienced director David Palmer also helmed 2010 comedy Brother’s Justice (nope, I ain’t heard of it either) and they throw so much at the screen here it’s hard not to lose focus.
Where Hit & Run works best is as a rom-com on the road with emphasis on Charlie and Annie’s relationship.
Shepard, a mix between Owen Wilson and Zach Braff, and Bell are a likeable couple.
We’re not talking Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher quality but they share some nice moments together.
The best comes in the opening scene with a sweet bedroom conversation that ends with a close-up on Bell’s teary eyes.
When the story moves away from our central couple things start to become more miss than hit.
There’s too many secondary characters and some, like Jess Rowland’s gay cop Terry, feel totally redundant.
Bradley Cooper’s dreadlocked criminal Alex doesn’t give off enough of a threatening vibe.
How many hardened crooks we’re supposed to think are capable of killing off characters we care about sit around checking their Facebook page?
Tom Arnold’s gunshot-happy marshall is very, very grating and gets himself into scenarios better associated with full-on farcical comedies.
The car chases just about qualify the “action” part of this “action comedy” but they go on far too long and don’t mesh well with the rom-com elements.
And what’s with Shepard and Palmer’s obsession with filming spinning cars? Once is acceptable but 3 or 4 times?
But despite the hopping about from comedy to crime caper to action, Hit & Run manages to remain pretty watchable... for the most part.
I doubt very much if it’ll turn leading man Dax Shepard into a household name though.