Hit and Run
Bland action comedy from Hollywood star Dax Shepard
The personable star of TV show Parenthood, Hollywood hunk Dax Shepard bites off more than he can chew in Hit and Run, writing, co-directing (with David Palmer) and starring in a lightweight action movie sporting wilfully loquacious dialogue á la Quentin Tarantino. Shepard has a close resemblance to Scrubs star Zach Braff, but unlike Braff’s deceptively auspicious debut Garden State, Hit and Run quickly becomes grating by trying to be cute.
Shepard casts himself as Yul Perrkins, aka Charles Bronson, whose troubled backstory as a getaway driver leads him to seek relocation to the sticks via a witness protection run by Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold). Yul’s girlfriend Annie, played by Shepard’s real-life fiancee Kirsten Bell, has a prospective teaching post lecturing in non-violent problem-solving at a university in Los Angeles, and he reluctantly agrees to chauffeur her to her destination in his pristine car. Her jealous ex-boyfriend Gil (Michael Rosenbaum) gets wind of the couple's plans, and notifies Yul’s arch-enemy Alex (Bradley Cooper, coiffured with dreadlocks like Gary Oldman in True Romance) who sets off in pursuit. Violent problem-solving ensues.
Imitating Tarantino's acute grasp of rambling casual argot is difficult, and Shepard struggles with his task, with broad slapstick undermining any genuine sense of menace. Yet Hit and Run is blandly watchable as Yul and Annie bicker their way through rides on an assortment of odd vehicles, while the charismatic Cooper enjoys the chance to play an amusingly moralistic villain.
As a vehicle for Shepard, Hit and Run is a write-off, far too derivative of other people’s work to give any real sense of his talents. While he's a likable enough leading man, Shepard may regret spurning his chance to demonstrate whether he has a genuine cinematic voice.
General release from Fri 12 Oct.