Published Aug 23, 2012Who could have predicted that a chase movie written and co-directed by Dax Shepard (Parenthood) would turn out to be an honest, sweet and insightful exploration of relationship dynamics?
While not all off-screen relationships translate well on screen, the warm beating heart of Hit and Run is the infectious energy generated by the playful, comfortable rapport between Dax Shepard and real life fiancé, Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars). In their intimate scenes together, the genuine adoration the couple display for each other is palpable. Anyone who's seen the Kristen Bell sloth video on the Internet will recognize those authentic tears of joy.
Charlie (Shepard) is a former getaway driver who's embraced the new life afforded him by the witness protection program. All is well in the small town and house he shares with Annie (Bell), who is an academic specializing in non-violent conflict resolution, until she's offered an interview for her dream job in L.A. Refusing to let her squander the opportunity and unwilling to lose her, Charlie decides to risk ditching witness protection to drive her to the city that was the scene of his crimes.
Along the way, they are pursued by Charlie's inept, high-strung federal marshal buddy, Randy (Tom Arnold, in maximum neurosis mode), Annie's pathetic, obsessive ex-boyfriend, Gil (Michael Rossenbaum, Smallville), and, once they catch wind of his resurgence, Charlie's former gang. It's possible to enjoy this as a simple action comedy with creative crudities (full frontal geriatric orgy, anyone?) and highly kinetic chase sequences, but Hit and Run transcends the trappings of its genre by drawing realistic characters in situations that usually settle for caricatures.
Also refreshing is the decision to discuss the psychology of action movie clichés, the childish attraction of muscle cars, and the appropriateness, or lack thereof, of using highly charged slang without hurtful intent. Most films are content to pick a side and push the plot forward. Here, the plot is the MacGuffin. Hit and Run is a declaration of love and an examination of the complex mechanisms of honesty in relationships. (Alliance)