Originally created as a vehicle for Will Ferrell, who acts as executive producer here, Akiva Schaffer’s low-rent comedy in the Tallageda Nights/Blades of Glory mould features a number of fresh-faced Saturday Night Live alumni who are relatively unknown in the UK. ‘Hot’ Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) is an amateur stuntman who attempts to win the respect of his hometown and his ill stepfather (Ian McShane) by setting himself the foolhardy challenge of jumping over 15 buses on his moped.
A self-deluded loser firmly in the style of Napoleon Dynamite or Nacho Libre, Kimble’s training programme provides the structure for a loose assemblage of sight gags based around a training montage theme, a familiar subject for Team America writer and producer Pam Brady. Unlike its aspirational hero, Hot Rod doesn’t exactly set its sights high, but it delivers a few good-spirited laughs before the inevitable crash and burn. Samberg has an amiable screen presence, and he’s helped along by deadpan playing from a supporting cast that includes Sissy Spacek as Rod’s mother. But there’s barely enough comic mileage in false moustaches, 80s rock anthems and brazenly unwarranted machismo to sustain the short running time.
General release from Fri 17 Aug.