Northbound and up, loaded up and truckin'!
Miss Annie Bean (Kristen Bell) has been slogging away at a community college in some speck on the map in California for years now, but she's finally been called up to the big leagues. See,
UCLA is on the verge of launching a Conflict Resolution program -- the first in the country! -- and seeing as how Annie has a one-of-a-kind doctorate in Non-Violent Conflict Resolution that she put together herself, it's kind of a match made in heaven. Two little hiccups, though. One, the clock's ticking for the big interview in L.A. She's gotta pack and be up there yesterday. Two, she can't leave her boyfriend behind! Charles Bronson (Dax Shepard) is a total sweetie, though, and he offers to shrug off his smalltown life and trade up to the big city together. And heck, with seven hundred horses under the hood and a seemingly endless amount of trunk space, this tricked-out 1967 Lincoln Continental has plenty of room to lug Annie and all her stuff to L.A. With a car like that, a road trip's nothin'. I mean, you could rob a bank, toss who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the trunk, cram, say, five gun-toting thugs inside, and outrun anything the law could throw your way.
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Wait, that's the part Charlie left out. Annie knew he was in witness protection, but Charlie...if that even is his real name...never got around to mentioning the whole wheelman deal or the part where he ratted out his partners in crime when one of 'em killed a guy. His testimony wasn't enough to score a conviction, but still, that flavor of betrayal stings four years later. Oh, and guess what sprawling metropolis Alex (Bradley Cooper), Neve (Joy Bryant), and Alan (Ryan Hansen) are based out of? Wow, only took you one try too. So, as Annie and Charlie are tearing a path to Los Angeles, they've got a bumbling U.S. marshall (Tom Arnold), Annie's intensely jealous ex (Michael Rosenbaum), a horsepower-crazed hillbilly (David Koechner), and a station wagon full of bloodcrazed bank robbers on their tail. And maybe...just maybe!...they'll learn a little something about life and love along the way.
Ooooohhh....I really, really want to like Hit and Run. I sort of do too. I mean, it's a throwback to all those testosterone-dripping car chase action/comedies from the '70s and '80s. Tons of high speed chases, pretty
much an entire fleet of ridiculously cool (and, okay, a few less than cool) cars, no CGI fakery, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell doing their own driving and stunts...what's not to like? The sprawling cast has a superhuman amount of chemistry together, which maybe isn't all that surprising seeing as how pretty much every last one of 'em are close friends and/or frequent collaborators with Bell and Shepard. The real driving force of the movie isn't any of that Detroit muscle under the hood; it's the relationship between Annie and Charlie. As I'm sure anyone reading this already knows, Bell and Shepard are a long-time couple themselves, and you get the sense that a lot of their conversations, their playfulness together, their arguments...it's all rooted in things they've actually been through. There's a real emotional heft to a lot of that too, and it's woven in deftly enough that it never seems cloying or jarringly out of place with the breezy sooooo-weeeeee-Carolina-Crusher! tone of the rest of the flick.
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I'm not going to say anything snide or snarky about Hit and Run, so apologies if you were holding out for that. Despite being produced independently for borderline-nothing, the sheer volume of car chases and half-battalion of familiar faces give Hit and Run a lot of production value, its heart is in the right place, the whole thing's a Valentine to the sorts of movies I wouldn't mind seeing more of on the big screen, and its emotional core is surprisingly resonant. It's just...it's a comedy that's not even a little bit funny. With running jokes about nekkid old people and ethnic assrape in jail, Hit and Run's sense of humor is maybe a notch or two above the "Ow, My Balls!" dreck that Shepard was snickering at in Idiocracy. I like dumb gags as much as the next guy, but Hit and Run keeps it a little too lazy, obvious, and oooohhh nooooo! pratfall-ish. Some of the conversations meander on for too long, Bradley Cooper is kind of miscast as the heavy, and there are too many peripheral characters that don't get a laugh and don't add anything to the story either.
Even though I think the end result misses the mark a little too often, I really like what Hit and Run is aiming towards, and I wish there were more movies out there these days like it...just ones that stick the landing, you know? Rent It.
Hit and Run looks pretty slick in high-def. I mean, the image is impressively bright and colorful, a welcolmed change from all these dark, dour horror movies I've been reviewing lately. Contrast
is pretty substantial too, and the digital photography overall is nice and sharp. Being a shiny new movie and all that, no artificial sharpening, clunky noise reduction, or sputters or stutters in the compression ever get in the way either. Nothin' but nice things to say.
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The AVC encode for Hit and Run spans both layers of this BD-50 disc. This high-def presentation has been letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 2.39:1.
Just like you'd probably expect for a movie straight outta theaters, Hit and Run is rockin' a 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. It ticks off a lot of the right checkboxes too. It's packing a pretty monstrous low-end, from that low frequency kick to Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" to the gutteral growl of that souped-up '67 Lincoln Continental. With meaty dynamic range, ridiculous clarity, and dialogue that's balanced this cleanly and clearly in the mix, there's not a whole lot to complain about. Well, except for the surrounds, that is. They kind of seem like an afterthought. There are a couple of slick pans and nice atmospheric effects, but the rears otherwise hardly ever draw attention to themselves. Even with all these manic chases where you'd expect to hear cars flying all over the soundscape, that doesn't...really happen. It's a stereo-and-then-some track, but at least it's a pretty good one.
There aren't any dubs, commentaries, or downmixes this time around. Subtitles are served up in English (SDH), French, and Spanish. Oh, and Hit and Run also offers up support for D-Box bass shaker rigs. I forgot about those!
- Deleted Scenes (18 min.; HD): This hefty reel doesn't really dish out much in the way of deleted scenes so much. Instead, these are scenes that are very similar to what made it into the final cut, just alternate takes, a line or two of dialogue that've been swapped out, a shiny new quip that's
been tossed in...that sort of deal. Among the highlights are a different spin on the show-stoppin' car chase, chatter about shallots and bowling, and Annie wondering why
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- Featurettes (7 min.; HD): The only other extras are three short promotional featurettes, each clocking in around two and a half minutes a pop. "Run and Gun" recaps the premise and breezes through a list of the characters in the flick. "Love on the Run" touches on that head-on collision between a testosterone-fueled car chase comedy and a sugary-sweet romance. "Street Legal", my favorite of the bunch, focuses on the fleet of cars and stuntwork. Turns out...? All Dax's cars, and that really is him and K-Bell behind the wheel.
Hit and Run comes packaged in a lightly embossed slipcover, and an anamorphic widescreen DVD and UltraViolet digital copy code have been lovingly tucked inside as well.
The Final Word
Hit and Run has charm to spare, a hell of a cast, and more high-octane car chases than you can shake a muffler at. It's just...well, Hit and Run isn't bad. It's just nowhere near as hysterical, off-beat, or infectiously fun as it wants to be. I could've just written "yeah, it's okay" as my review and saved us both a bunch of time. Worth checking out if you're a fan of any of the actors on the bill or if you're game for a guy-movie throwback, but you're probably better off with a rental. Rent It.