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Overall Rating
3.52

Awesome: 18.18%
Worth A Look52.27%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 22.73%
Sucks: 6.82%

4 reviews, 20 user ratings



Hot Rod
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by Erik Childress

"MMM What You Say.....I Laughed My Butt Off"
4 stars

My mom frequently likes to kid that Iím ďnot a well personĒ when it comes to my sense of humor. Itís not like Iím into grievous bodily harm deliberately visited upon good people or small children, although there is no reason that canít sometimes be funny. We can all take humor classes about satire, screwball absurdity and the darkest recesses of human frailty and it will never explain to your closest friends and trusted readers why you laugh at some things. From Anchorman to Jackass and Napoleon Dynamite to Aqua Teen Hunger Force, I have had busted guts replaced and yet I still believe I could mount a credible argument for each of them to account for why I was laughing with gusto while a few seats down would make Buster Keaton look like a hyena on peyote. That must have been what I looked like at the screening of Hot Rod.

Saturday Night Liveís Andy Samberg plays Rod Kimble, an amateur stuntman from the suburbs looking to fulfill the dreams of his late father. OK, now that weíve got the sincere part out of the way, the guy plain sucks. Wouldnít be much of a comedy if he were a good one. With his loyal crew consisting of mechanic Dave (SNLís Bill Hader), ramp builder Rico (Danny R. McBride, from the little seen, but very funny, Sundance karate comedy, The Foot Fist Way) and stepbrother, Kevin (Jorma Taccone), they put on local stunts for the neighborhood kids that go consistently go wrong. The only respect Rod actively seeks though is from his bullying stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane), whom he frequently fights in the basement. But when heís laid up with a heart condition, Rod pours all his energy in raising money for the operation. So he can kick his ass when heís better.

Whew! Those one paragraph comedies can be a grind. Thankfully, Hot Rod is more than just a one-joke movie although Iím certain itís doomed to be labeled as such. The same manner of oddball humor that made Anchorman such a plotless wonder exists in spirit within Hot Rodís straight-faced lunacy. Audiences may spend enough time deciphering in what inordinate timewarp the film exists in to miss the stretches where the film occasionally falls flat. Are Samberg and his posse really aging manchilds; losers who ďlike to partyĒ stuck in their old digs? Or are they purposefully playing teenagers well past the usual casting choices of high school flicks. Sure they live at home and ride bikes, but Rodís childhood crush, Denise (Isla Fisher) has had ďcollege experience.Ē If the progressive rock tunes of the í80s date it, then whatís with the cell phones?

Perhaps itís meant to typify Deniseís advancement over her guy friends, which would certainly ease up on the creepiness of Will Arnettís corvette fratboy dating a teenager. Oh, but now Iím just stalling and I know you can sense it. Will you laugh? Letís see. I was able to sense that Napoleon Dynamite could grow into a cult favorite the first time I saw it at Sundance, but imitators in its wake like this summerís Eagle vs. Shark have left me cold. I think nearly anything Judd Apatow has his name on these days is an instant classic while I find Wedding Crashers a ridiculously overblown hit and Old School is just plain bad. So understand my love of Hot Rod with as many grains of salt that you need.

Sambergís brand of humor first hit mainstream audiences with the infamous ďLazy SundayĒ rap video (ďWe love the Chronic Ė WHAT? Ė Cles of Narnia!Ē). He followed it up with Natalie Portman rapping a new image for herself, a tribute to his brother-in-law Roy, the immortal ďDick in a BoxĒ song with Justin Timberlake and the ďDear SisterĒ O.C. parody which was so weird and hilarious that it only slowly revealed how brilliant a work of satire on melodramatic murder it really was. Hot Rod is very much in its shadow. Aside from the stunts-gone-bad, and there are enough to appease any Americaís Funniest Home Videos fan, the biggest laughs come in the moments from left field. An Asian groupie proving his worth to Rodís crew with some minimalist dance moves isnít particularly funny at first. When he brings it back for an excessive encore at the most inopportune time, I almost had to be restrained. Consider the purpose of a safe word when youíre doing a full-speed luge down a street? And in its most Anchorman-like moment, a triumphant song goes dangerously chaotic.

Thatís just a taste of the bizarre lengths Hot Rod rockets towards. It isnít just throwing joke darts at a board in the hopes that a few stick. Itís throwing them at the pool table, the bartender, your face, then dynamiting the wall to go after the building next door. And like any rapid ammo dispersal, a few people wonít get it in the end. Only this time, they are the unfortunate ones. From potshots at Footloose to Europe being the resurrected supergroup of the moment, Hot Rod doesnít saddle itself with just one form of humor. It hits high satire to lowbrow destructibility and holds true to what it commits to in each scene. Some will see it as the next comic sensation in the spirit of the Will Ferrell/Adam McKay collaborations. Others will incite Freddy Got Fingered, which if youíre keeping score, I was not a fan of. What is comedy without divide though? And what would it be without a few un-well people like Andy Samberg and crew out there creating it and those like us who appreciate it?

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15573&reviewer=198
originally posted: 08/03/07 00:00:00
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User Comments

3/01/11 boom chukka even the little things are funny. "man pools are perfect for holding water" 5 stars
6/05/10 PAUL SHORTT THIN AND UNAMUSING 1 stars
11/27/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
1/24/08 ES I laughed so hard 4 stars
12/30/07 Indrid Cold Napoleon Dynamite crossed with an Adam Sandler movie. What could possibly go wrong? 2 stars
10/23/07 Courtney (about as bad as tennis elbow) About as contrived and stupid as a film can be. Cool beans?!? Did I miss something? 1 stars
10/23/07 William Goss Very random but often amusing stunt-based slapstick and eccentric humor. Cool beans. 4 stars
10/08/07 Meredith Corpening MMM Maybe what's really retarded is not getting it that MEAN GIRLS IS FICTIION ?!!!?? 2 stars
10/01/07 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Why didn't Denise get wise sooner to old BF being a jackass? She retarded or something? 2 stars
9/26/07 Shelley Splinters Some movies are sheer insanity in a good way. This is just sheer insanity. 1 stars
8/18/07 Lattechino I think the Lonely Island, not Will Ferrel, epitomizes intelligent postmodern comedy. 5 stars
8/17/07 nicole it was hillarious 5 stars
8/15/07 me laughed so hard I couldn't breath 5 stars
8/10/07 ACE This movie had me crying....hilarious!!! 5 stars
8/10/07 Goldie Spacek saying "laugh at you" isn't clever, it's obvious. This movie is clever, not obvious. 5 stars
8/10/07 Sly In typical Lonely Island fashion, this movie delivers. Chester's character cracked me up. 5 stars
8/06/07 Private Self conscious, random and obtuse. Not for me. 2 stars
8/06/07 Trick Hilarious and Phenomenal 4 stars
8/05/07 chief boot knocka best comedy ever!!!! 5 stars
8/02/07 Linda Mann Lots of funny moments 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Aug-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Nov-2007

UK
  28-Sep-2007

Australia
  11-Oct-2007



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Akiva Schaffer

Written by
  Pam Brady

Cast
  Andy Samberg
  Isla Fisher
  Jorma Taccone
  Bill Heder
  Sissy Spacek
  Ian McShane
  Chris Parnell



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