Hit & Run

The regular trailer for Hit & Run and the redband (rated "R") trailer almost play like two different movies. The red-band trailer focuses on something unpleasant that happened when Bradley Cooper's character was sent to jail. The trailer repeats this unfunny joke several times, and its crudeness almost deterred me from seeing the movie. The regular trailer tells the actual story, or at least a two minutes and thirty seconds synopsis of it, and previewed a decent movie. I'm glad I ended up seeing the film because it was one of the better ones I've seen this summer. I also enjoyed the Q&A session with Dax Shepard after the screening - he is as zany and pleasant in person as he was in the movie.

Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard, TV's Parenthood) is in the Witness Protection Program, and has been living in a tiny rural town in California for the past four years. His program agent (Tom Arnold, Madea's Witness Protection) is one of his only friends there, aside from his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell, Safety Not Guaranteed). Annie works at a tiny college until one day her boss, Debbie (Kristin Chenoweth, TV's GCB) tells her that she found her a job at UCLA, heading up a new department there. The catch is that Annie has to get herself to L.A. in a few days to interview for the position. She knows she can't move to L.A. and leave Charlie behind (he's not allowed to leave the town, for the most part), but Charlie convinces her to go, and he decides to drive her there himself, in an old Lincoln he (illegally) brought with him from his former life.

Annie's ex, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum, Catch .44), who is still madly in love with her, follows them, as he thinks Charlie is going to "cut [her] up into little pieces"; he believes Charlie was a murderer who struck a deal to get into Witness Protection. Everyone seems to know that Charlie is in Witness Protection, but he had claimed that it was for witnessing a crime; it was, technically, but he later tells Annie that he was actually the getaway driver. Charlie's Lincoln is registered in his real name, Yul Perkins, and Gil figures this out and then promptly sends a Facebook message to Alex (Bradley Cooper, The Hangover Part II, sporting ridiculous dreadlocks) saying that he knows where Yul/Charlie will be in the next twenty-four hours. What happens after this is a crazy story that spirals out of control, leaving Charlie to defend his girlfriend from Alex and the rest of his robber buddies.

I wasn't expecting much from Hit & Run but I was very pleasantly surprised. Most of the raunchy moments from the red-band trailer are scattered throughout the film, and a few were used very well; especially so with the scene when a bunch of elderly ladies and gentleman are seen naked in a hotel room. Dax Shepard joked in the Q&A that he put an ad on Craiglist saying something like "Hey, wanna get naked for a movie? Ready to party? Then call this number," and he said that "99% of the time that would NOT be for a legitimate film!" All of the actors did well in their roles, too, and the chemistry between Bell and Shepard was of course great, since they are a real-life couple.

Yes, see this film. It's another "summer fluff" film that you might not remember the day after you see it, but it is one of the best summer fluff films you will probably see. There are a ton of car chase scenes and Dax Shepard actually did all of the stunts himself, which was crazy to hear because some of them looked very dangerous. The film has a Michigan connection too: both Shepard and Bell are Michigan natives, Shepard being from Milford and a Walled Lake Central graduate, and Bell being a native of Huntington Woods; Bell was unable to make it to the screening because she was starting production on a new show the next day, but her mother and step-father were in attendance. The movie has a lot of laughs and it was fun to see a film that made ample use of all of its characters, as well as one where the jokes rarely fell flat.

Hit & Run is in theaters today, August 24th, and is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

*Author's Note: I saw a screening of this film on July 8th. The movie I saw may or may not be the finished version.

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