A 'Napoleon Dynatmie'-infused, 'Jackass'-with-a-plot movie that is an SNL skit gone too long--and not funny.
If so, then you have "Hot Rod" in a nutshell.
Rob Kimble (Andy Samberg) is your average 20-something male in an average town-except he's the town stuntman. Rod idolizes his father, who once met motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel and became a stuntman himself. Rod, naturally, wanted to follow in the footsteps of his late father, despite the apprehension of his mother (Sissy Spacek).
The fact his idol is arguably the best and most well known stuntman in history doesn't seem to affect his performance: he flat out sucks. He can't even jump the public pool, which is no more than 20-feet wide. He even will attempt to jump an ice cream truck, despite his crew not having time to reinforce the take-off ramp.
At home, Rod tries to impress his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane). He has to fight for Frank's respect-literally. Rod prepares himself to hang out with Frank by putting on a helmet, shoulder pads and a jock strap.
When Frank falls ill, however, Rod and his team decide to jump 15 buses, raising money for Frank's much-needed heart operation. Still Frank is not impressed and still wants to beat down Rod. But Rod says he'll raise the money for surgery-and then kick his ass. Rod also starts to pay attention more to next-door sweetheart Denise (Isla Fisher), bringing her in as a part of the stunt team. Rod wants to get closer to Denise, but she's dating Corvette-driving ego-hog Jonathan (Will Arnett).
"Hot Rod" plays out much like the aforementioned bad SNL sketch. You just sit there, looking at the screen, hoping they would cue the applause and go to commercial. Its just that commercials are shown at the beginning of the movie-with "Hot Rod" you just about beg for the break.
The actors involved in the project are talented people. Samberg, who also co-wrote the film, is one of the fresh funny faces on SNL, bringing some assemblance of talent to a show that hasn't been funny in a long time. Along with Samberg are a few from SNL days, past and present: Bill Hader and Chris Parnell, both are also very funny. However, the script just doesn't switch gears from "silent" to "funny."
Heck, it doesn't even reach "moderately humorous." The influences on the script are obvious. The obsessively popular yet inexplicably one of the worst movies ever made: "Napoleon Dynamite." Samberg and his band of miscreants have ripped off one of the stupidest movies ever.
Ah, the irony of it all.
The movie is "Jackass" meets "Napoleon," as if Johnny Knoxville and his half-ass stuntmen made a movie based on their hit MTV show-with a plot.
"Jackass" is funny; this is not.
How Samberg also got such terrific and accomplished actors like Spacek and McShane for this movie. Spacek seems somewhat miscast and doesn't get to do much, which could have possibly included showing her comedic range. McShane, on the other hand, does give some life to an otherwise abysmal movie. His critically-acclaimed work on HBO's "Deadwood" is deep, dark and masterful, while in this he shows his comic timing is just as worthy as his dramatic work.
"Hot Rod" just shows us that the biggest gears, the highest grade fluids and the most creative of detail means nothing if you've got a flat tire made in Idaho that gets you nowhere.
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