Dax Shepard is a pretty cool dude. He’s been dating Kristen Bell since 2007, they’ve been engaged since 2010, and won’t get married until gay marriage is legal in California. He works, alongside Hit and Run co-star and friend Tom Arnold, with at-risk youths. He’s friends with Bradley Cooper. He’s engaged to Kristen Bell.
So, why not co-write and direct a low-budget action-comedy starring himself, his fiancee, and his buddies, along with other awesome people like Ryan Hansen and Michael Rosenbaum? Seems like an excellent way to spend time with his loved ones and maybe, just maybe, make some cash when all is said and done.
I’ve made a bunch of shorts with my friends and a camera and I’m not famous. Can Dax Shepard fair better than me? Probably. Read on to find out whether or not Hit and Run can out-perform Preston White, Out-of-Work Abercrombie and Fitch Model
Hit and Run
Director: Dax Shepard and David Palmer
Release Date: August 22, 2012
Charles “Charlie” Bronson is in the witness protection program. He’s stuck in a podunk town with no friends, no job, and only one thing in his (new) life that brings him joy: his girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell). When she gets the opportunity to be head of her own department at CA in Los Angeles, Charlie decides to throw caution to the wind and go with her (much to the chagrin of the marshal who is tasked with keeping his eye on Charlie, played by Tom Arnold) in his old car, which just so happens to be the 700hp ride he used as a getaway driver in his last life. When Annie’s ex (Michael Rosenbaum) gets his panties in a bunch, the men Charlie betrayed (Bradley Cooper and Ryan Hansen) catch a whiff of where to find their traitorous compatriot. Lots of car chases, lots of action, and lots of hilarity ensue as all parties involved cross and criss-cross leading to a pretty tense stand off.
Dax Shepard is a pretty funny guy, but he also has some great depth. I’ve watched enough Parenthood to know that. Kristen Bell, who plays his girlfriend, is Kristen Bell, so saying she’s awesome is redundant. I mean, I used italics for Pete’s sake. But the two of them really feel like a real couple in this movie. The opening scene is one of the most tender scenes I’ve seen in any movie this year. The realistic relationship persists through the rest of the film, through thick and thin, and it was terrific. Tom Arnold’s Randy, a fairly accident-prone US marshal, was a nice addition and his arc is quirky and low-key and full of laughs. The bad guys are a highlight as well. Bradley Cooper’s introductory scene was hilarious and dark and, while he’s just suddenly there, Ryan Hansen’s minor role as Cooper’s well-dressed cohort was nice as well. Michael Rosenbaum is, to the surprise of none I’m sure, a perfect douchebag. Beau Bridges and Jason Bateman have small but effective roles, and David Koechner plays a delightfully redneck plot-device. Pretty much everyone involved was a recognizable face and meshed very nicely together.
The best cast in the world, however, is nothing without a script and Dax Shepard brought forth a hilarious and at times surprisingly thought-provoking script. I found myself laughing almost constantly throughout the film’s 100 minutes and even the stuff they show you in the trailer goes deeper and no punches are pulled. Writing your girlfriend must come easily, and it worked marvelously for Shepard and Bell. One of my favorite exchanges between the couple involves Charlie’s real name and whether or not he picked his new name. I was in stiches. The film certainly won’t win any Best Screenplay awards, but it was funny, full of action, and above-average as far as car-centric action movies go.
Speaking of car chases, Hit and Run spends most of its time in or around cars, and the chase scenes are pretty awesome. I don’t know much about cars, but it kept me entertained. I heard Shepard did a lot of his own driving, but I can’t confirm it for sure. In any event, the chase scenes were entertaining as hell.
For a mid-week release at the tail-end of summer, you could do much worse than Hit and Run. You could be 2016: Obama’s America. Dax Shepard has written, co-directed, co-edited, and starred in a fun little movie full of his beautiful fiancee and his buddies, and that’s great. I hope to one day be able to do the same thing: have sex with Kristen Bell make a movie with all my buddies. If you told me a couple years ago that Dax Shepard would impress me with a chase movie, I’d laugh you out of the room. As it stands, he nailed it. I liked the film a lot. It’s not in my top 10 of 2012, but it’s absolutely worth your time.