HIT AND RUN
Now playing at Scotiabank
Did Dax Shepard pick the film's deceptively generic title? If not, it's one of the few things he didn't do on Hit and Run, in between writing, co-directing, stunt-driving, editing and starring in the film.
Given the film's reportedly skimpy budget, it would come as no surprise if it was revealed that Shepard catered the thing, too.
Hit And Run is a love story. But it's tough to decide which is the bigger love affair: the one between Charlie (Shepard) and Annie (Kristen Bell) or the one between filmmakers and the car.
The car is a 1967 Lincoln Continental, injected with 700 horsepower. A guy magnet, not a chick magnet. And it's Shepard's, too, which is probably why he insisted on doing all the stunt driving himself. The film doesn't truly come alive until Charlie Bronson (yep, that's his name), having spent the past four years in the witness protection program, throws the dusty tarp off the car and revs that engine. (Car nerds will note that the pair later jump into a modified Baja sand rail.)
Charlie and Annie have lived together blissfully for a year. But when Annie has an opportunity to head her own program at a real school-instead of a dead-end community college run by Kristin Chenoweth-Charlie insists on driving her to L.A. for the interview. It's a big deal because there are people in Los Angeles who want him dead.
Annie knows that Charlie is in hiding, but doesn't know much else of his history.
It comes as a complete surprise then, that Charlie was a semi-professional driver when he was younger, and the getaway driver in a "baker's dozen" bank robberies. Or that his real name is Yul.
Charlie, a sensitive soul, thinks they can overcome his past; Annie is too alarmed by the secrets he's been keeping.
Whether he loves Annie or whether it's been too long since he took the Lincoln out for a spin, Charlie leaves town, with his marshall/babysitter lumbering close behind.
Randy (Tom Arnold) is perhaps the world's most trigger-happy federal agent, shooting up his own cars, neighbours' houses, and accidentally discharging his weapon all over town.
Also giving chase is Annie's over-zealous ex-boyfriend (Michael Rosenbaum, of Smallville fame), a cop (Jess Rowland) who uses his gay hookup app to help track down suspects, and the thugs, led by Alex Demitri, a menacing Bradley Cooper in dreadlocks.
Other co-stars include Beau Bridges and Shepard's Parenthood co-star Joy Bryant.
The film is rated R for its fondness for f-bombs and a couple of blinkand-you'll-miss-it scenes featuring buck-naked pensioners. There's a pseudo-racist rape conversation, wherein Charlie proves that he has less understanding of rape than congressman Todd Akin.
Much of the banter is reportedly based on the couple's real-life relationship, and such niggling couplequestions as whether kidding at your spouse's expense is ever really kidding, or merely thinly veiled criticism. In other words, the script rings true; add to that a lively pace and patter and we willingly go along for the ride.