Written by Pam Brady
Directed by Akiva Schaffer
Running Time: 1:28
for crude humor, language, some comic
drug-related and violent content.
Hot Rod was a completely ridiculous and at times downright hilarious film.
Rod believes that his father is a former stunt man who worked with the legendary Evil Knievel. His father died during a tragic accident and now Rod lives with a stepfather who doesn't respect him. The only way Rod thinks he can earn his new dad's respect is by beating the living tar out of him. Unfortunately, his step-father has a heart condition, so Rod decides he's going to raise the money needed for the operation so he can save the old man. And then beat the living tar out of him.
I believe Andy Samberg is heading down the path of another SNL alum, Adamn Sandler. Make a dumb but funny movie that won't make much at the box office, but will become a cult classic amongst teenage boys. Make a couple more of these before one hits it really big, then make a couple of dramas before heading back into mainstream comedies. Hey, it worked for Sandler, so why not Samberg? I think Hot Rod is one of those, 'this is so dumb it's funny' films that will have people either shaking their neads or laughing out loud. I found myself more in the second camp. There were times where the movie was just plain stupid, but there were moments of brilliance that had me laughing for minutes on end. I shall briefly describe one of those moments.
After Rod gets into a fight with his stepdad, he yells that he needs to go to his happy place. What follows is an extended dance montage deep in the woods complete with 80s heavy metal music in the background. For those of us that grew up on cheesy 80s films, the entire sequence is a send up of those movies. It was an inspired sequence that ends with a very long fall down the side of a mountain. It's something you'd almost expect to see on a spoof TV show because it's was completely stupid, but I couldn't help but laugh. Samberg definitely gets deep into his character as the loveable buffoon Rod who only wants his stepfather's love and respect.
The rest of the cast is a mix of people you'd expect to see in these kinds of films, and people you wouldn't. There's the token hot chick, played with sweetness by Isla Fisher. There are the dumb friends/step brother played by people like fellow SNL star Bill Hader. But then there are award winning actors like Ian McShane and Sissy Spacek playing important roles. How on Earth did Samberg manage to convince those two to show up in a film like this? But that really only added to the laughs. Watching McShane beat Samberg within an inch of his life was just plain funny. Spacek didn't have much to do, but the idea of seeing her in this movie was funny enough.
The story line is pretty much your typical dumb guy makes good story and isn't all that important. What's important is the random humor that shows up throughout the movie. Whether it's a throwaway line about a 'conveniently priced surgery' or the two brothers singing 'cool beans' there are laughs coming from every direction. Not all of them stick, but enough do to make this movie worthwhile.
The DVD extras are about as silly as the movie. There are the usual deleted scenes and outtakes, and a director's commentary. But I think the one I enjoyed the most was the dance sequence comparison to Footloose. I knew when I saw the movie originally, the sequence was a send up of an 80s film, but I didn't realize it was taken almost directly from Footloose. They show the two movies side-by-side with the music and it's downright hysterical. I think this is one of the few extras that I've seen that makes a DVD worth buying. It's short, but really funny. And as the movie isn't one that needed to be seen in theaters, watching it on DVD doesn't lose anything in quality.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed Hot Rod. It's not a great movie, but it's a randomly funny one with some moments that'll make you yawn, but enough that'll make you laugh out loud.
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