Hit and Run C
You first see Charlie (Dax Shephard) and Annie (Shephard’s fiancée, Kristen Bell) under the covers in the comedy “Hit and Run.” They’re teasing each other in the early morning, clearly lost in love, and this turns out to be the film’s best scene: the intimacy feels real. Charlie encourages Annie that life’s all about the moment, but it’s the past that may soon tear these happy lovers apart.
Their relationship is first challenged when a great job opportunity comes Annie’s way. She’s a scholar in conflict resolution, and she’s asked to head up a new university program in Los Angeles.
This would mean leaving behind her golden life with Charlie in Central California. And it would also mean leaving behind Charlie himself, who’s stuck there in a witness protection program.
“Hit and Run” asks you to buy that the whip-smart Annie has never pried into Charlie’s background—why is he in witness protection, anyhow?—or even asked him about his real name. She knows full well that Charles Bronson (yes, Charles Bronson) is only his witness protection name but doesn’t want to know anything more? Charlie’s truly in love with Annie, and she knows it, which may be why she’s not putting the brakes on always looking the other way.
He bravely decides to leave witness protection to drive her to her job interview in the big city. Before you know it, Charlie and Annie are being trailed by a mini-mob on this seemingly endless journey south: her jealous ex-boyfriend (Michael Rosenbaum), the marshal in charge of monitoring Charlie’s program (Tom Arnold), and assorted bank robbers (including a dreadlocked, underutilized Bradley Cooper) whom Charlie used to work with in his previous life of crime.
Many screeching, dusty car chases ensue, continually accompanied by a classic rock soundtrack and, in one odd case, “Pure Imagination” from “Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971).
There are plenty of the usual gay jokes, penis jokes, and racial jokes that you’ve probably come to expect from dude-centered summer comedies like this.
Annie gradually comes to realize that Charlie hasn’t told her everything about himself and has to decide if she can handle the truth or not. Their beautiful relationship starts to seriously fray, and their arguments, which had started off cute, grow tiresome as the film tries its best to accelerate.
Shephard and Bell are sincere but ultimately bland, and the same goes for the film. Directed by David Palmer and Shephard (who also wrote the screenplay), “Hit and Run” sincerely wants to be a 1970s drive-in movie like “Eat My Dust!” (1976) or “Grand Theft Auto” (1977) but lacks that Roger Corman charm.
There are decent cameos from the likes of Beau Bridges, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, but they just aren’t enough to help “Hit and Run” reach its destination. This is a mostly forgettable little trip.
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