Saturday, 2 February 2013

Hot Rod (2007)

Personally, I think that Hot Rod is hilarious. It's inconsistent and not one of my favourite comedies of all time, but it's damn good during the many moments when it hits that sweet spot. I also know that many people absolutely hate it so do remember that, just in case you somehow take in my praise of the movie, give it a watch one day and end up hating it so vehemently that you feel the need to track me down at home and urinate all over my movie collection.

Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) is a young man who spends his time creating and taking part in fearless stunts. He's supported by a team that includes his younger brother (Jorma Taccone) and two good friends (Danny McBride and Bill Hader). The only problem is that Rod isn't a very good stuntman. In fact, he's rubbish. When it comes to light that his stepfather (Ian McShane) is very ill, Rod is determined to finally do something right and to raise the money needed to save his life. He will have his own courage, the spirits of the animal kingdom, a number of '80s power ballads and a very cute lady named Denise (Isla Fisher) to help him. But will it be enough?

You either like this kind of comedy or you don't. It's not surprising to learn that this was initially created as a vehicle for Will Ferrell, but Samberg brings the same unrelenting silliness to the role and proves to be fairly likeable in the lead role, even if his character teeters on the edge of being a complete douchebag at times.

Director Akiva Schaffer does a perfectly acceptable job with the material and the script by Pam Brady is full of fun lines, though I assume that a lot of improvisation was also incorporated considering the people involved.

Ian McShane has good fun throwing insults at his onscreen stepson and beating him in many fights, Will Arnett sneers dismissively (and hilariously) at Rod and his chums and there are many great lines and moments from Taccone, McBride, Hader, Fisher, Chester Tam (always dancing and eager to help the troupe) and Chris Parnell (promoting the magic of AM radio). Sissy Spaceck may not get as much to do, but she's the kind, calm centre of Rod's life.

Featuring the best use of classic tune "You're The Voice" by John Farnham and a hilariously brilliant spoof of a memorable Footloose scene, this movie may have its heart in the '80s, but it's a comedy that fans may well find themselves revisiting again and again in the future.


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