PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

August 24, 2012

“Hit and Run” is hit and miss

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— The summer movie season is staggering to the finish line—something that’s readily apparent by the onslaught of mediocre movies hitting theaters lately. The latest example is “Hit and Run.” This comedic action film certainly has some likeable moments but its plot meanders and the tone is all over the place. One moment it’s a light and frothy love story and then it suddenly veers off course into savage violence. This shift in tone keeps the film from gathering any real momentum.

Starring real-life Hollywood couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, “Hit and Run” is the story of Charlie and Annie, a young couple living in a small California town. Charlie is actually in the witness protection program. His life in hiding is about to unravel when Annie gets a job interview. They are in love, so Charlie comes out of hiding to drive his girlfriend to Los Angeles. They hit the road and are quickly pursued by Annie’s jealous ex-boyfriend, the US Marshal in charge of protecting Charlie (Tom Arnold) and Charlie’s former best friend (Bradley Cooper), the bank robber he betrayed so many years ago.

The film feels as if it were cast because a bunch of Hollywood buddies wanted to do a movie, not because the actors were right for the project. Shepard and Bell have some nice chemistry and Arnold has always played bumbling fools well, but Cooper is too much of a genial nice guy. He’s just not a very believable villain in a film that needs a legitimate threat to make the action scenes work.

Perhaps the best casting in the film comes in the form of the 1967 Lincoln Continental that Charlie and Annie drive. The car is easily the coolest aspect of “Hit and Run,” which is great if you love classic automobiles, but not so great if you would rather see a good movie with solid action and comedy moments.

The bottom line is that this is simply a mediocre movie. I can’t slam it as a real turkey, but I can’t really recommend it either. Some of the comedy works, some of it feels forced. The action sequences are pedestrian at best and the plot doesn’t have the energy or drive that you expect from a road chase movie. I suppose that the film is still a good way to escape the end of summer heat, but “Hit and Run” works just as well as a DVD rental later on in the year.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.