Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Movie Review: Hit and Run (R - 100 minutes)

Some time ago - a TV sitcom star named Ashton Kutcher had a show on MTV where he and a group of sketch comedy artists would "Punk" celebrities by putting them in awkward situations.  You remember that, right?  From back in the day? It was called Punk'd and the first two season were actually really funny.

One of the comedians on that show was Dax Shepard. Dax grew up in a small town in Michigan and then went to UCLA and graduated with a degree in anthropology. He is improv comedy specialist, which was obvious on Punk'd.  Dax's hobbies include snowboarding, motorcycles, snowmobiles, basketball, and collecting fast cars.  The success of Punk'd, and Dax's role in it, allowed him to get some parts in other movies: Zathura, Employee of the Month, Idiocracy, Without a Paddle, and my favorite of his movies, When in Rome.
The significant part of Dax being in When in Rome is that he met Kristen Bell and they started dating.  Eventually Dax decided he'd like to make a movie using all his friends and his cars.  He wrote a script, pulled together a budget of $2,000,000 (half of which went to buying the rights to several songs in the movie), and co-directed it with his friend David Palmer. 
The story follows a reformed bank robbery getaway driver, formerly Yul Perkins and currently Charlie Bronson, living in witness protection after attempting to testify against the rest of his crew.  He is currently living in a small town with his new girlfriend, Annie, who knows a little about his previous life but doesn't know exactly what he used to do or why exactly he is in witness protection.  She gets an incredible job offer in L.A., and knowing that his ex-crew lives there and he shouldn't go back, he loves her enough to drive her to L.A. for the interview.
Along the way - they encounter his hapless Federal Marshal protector, her crazy ex-boyfriend and his state trooper brother, elderly swingers, a random redneck, and of course, his old crew.  Hijinks and car chases ensue.  Because the budget was so low - and there was no insurance on set - Dax did most of his own stunt driving.
He asked all of his friends to do the movie, supplied the majority of the cars, did the stunt driving, the writing, and the directing, and thusly, made the movie for almost no money - ensuring that whatever it makes will be almost all profit.  It's a very smart way to make a movie - and if you have the connections, I highly recommend it.  Especially if you can turn out something this good.  The advantage to casting your friends is that the chemistry is already there, and the opportunity for improv is higher. 
This is particularly evident in any scene that Dax and Kristin have together.  Because they are a real-life couple, the scenes of Charlie and Annie are well played and really believable.  The chemistry is great, and the relationship feels genuine.  If you've already seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, then you know how funny Kristen Bell can be.  If you haven't seen that - you should probably rent it now, as it is absolutely hilarious!  The rest of the cast is equally as entertaining.
  • Michael Rosenbaum (my all time favorite Lex Luthor) plays a character that he is beginning to corner the market on: the douchey ex-boyfriend, Gil.  He is ridiculous and crazy, and is very funny.  And look - hair!
  • Tom Arnold plays the Marshal attempting to protect Charlie. He is bumbling and out of control - and really seems to just be playing himself.  In fact, most of the people in this movie are.  It makes me wonder if Dax wrote it with these people in mind, so that they had the least amount of work to do as possible.
  • David Koechner shows up, again mostly playing himself - or the redneck trucker version of himself. 
  • Kristin Chenoweth is the co-worker that sets Annie up with the interview in L.A. She is hilarious, but again, playing a character we've seen her do multiple times before. 
  • Ryan Hansen (who used to be on Veronica Mars, and is married to one of Bell's best friends) plays Allen, one of the members of Charlie's old crew.  There's no explanation for his suit - or his backflip skill - which just adds to the comedy.
  • Joy Bryant plays another member of the old crew - the hot chick, because of course, there's a hot chick in every bank robbing crew.
  • Jess Rowland steps in as Gil's state patrolman brother Terry.  Very tall and very funny.
  • Sexiest Man Alive (according to People Magazine - not necessarily according to me, but close) Bradley Cooper plays Alex, the leader of Charlie's old crew, and apparent dog lover.  The wig is terrible, but he has said it is the same wig from the beginning of Limitless, and they simply dreaded it - to save money.  Cooper can do comedy - and is also good at action, did you see the latest A-team?  you should, in case you didn't, because he shows off both the comedy and action chops in that movie.  He is absolutely the villain of this movie and does a great job.
  • Also Beau Bridges is in this - He's good, but it seems weird that he's in it - although he totally fits the tone and does a great job.
All in all - see if, if not because you think it will be entertaining (which it definitely is), then because you want to support the idea that a dude can write a script, pull together a little bit of money and all his friends and make a great movie.  Of course, I really wanted the gag reel to be over the end credits - because anytime a group of friends make a movie - that's all I want to see!
8 out of 10:  gained points for Cooper assaulting the pit bull owner in the store - hilarious.  Lost points for Chenoweth's weird massage scene.  Gained points for the car chases - fun and funny!  Lost points for the old swingers, weird.  Gained points for Rosenbaum.  Yay.

Bonus Video 1:  Bell as Sarah Marshall in two of Sarah Marshall's terrible TV shows...too funny!
Bonus Video 2:  The other movie I love by a dude who wrote a script, and pulled together all his friends to shoot a movie:  Clerks:

Bonus Video 3:  Up a Creek - totally bizarre comedy with Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Sheppard...just weird, and they do encounter Burt Reynolds.
Bonus Video 4:  Bradley Cooper as he was the first time I saw him - on Alias.
Bonus Video 5: I love Rosenbaum because of Smallville...however, if you have any questions about his comic skills - rent and watch Sorority Boys.  It's insane, but really funny!
Bonus Video 6;  cast interviews!

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