Hit-and-miss highway hijinks.
DIRECTED BY DAX SHEPARD AND DAVID PALMER
A curious blend of semi-sincere relationship comedy and testosterone-charged chase flick, Hit and Run is not without its charms. But this modestly budgeted throwback to the highway hijinks of Smokey and the Bandit—starring, scripted, and co-directed by comedian and avowed car nut Dax Shepard—occasionally makes for a bumpy ride.
Firmly in the plus column, at least, is the chemistry shared by Shepard and real-life fiancée Kristen Bell, who play a couple stranded in small-town California as a result of his participation in the witness protection program. When she’s offered a chance to interview for a dream position in L.A., he insists that they set out for the big city together, despite the risk of re-encountering the bank robber he sent up the river (a douchey, dreadlocked Bradley Cooper).
And sure enough, Cooper’s vengeful ex-con is soon in pursuit of the pair, thanks to a tip from Bell’s irksomely clingy ex. More annoying still is Tom Arnold as a bumbling U.S. marshal assigned to Shepard’s protection, seemingly trying (but failing) to ape one of Chris Farley’s trademark displays of dangerously hyperactive ineptitude.
Though unlikely to impress diehard fans of the The Fast and the Furious, the action on (and occasionally off) the asphalt is serviceable, with Shepard’s own vintage Lincoln Continental featuring prominently. But the greater pleasure lies in the behind-the-wheel banter between Shepard and Bell. Their affectionate barbs just about balance Hit and Run‘s less successful comic detours.