In witness protection, former getaway driver Charlie Bronson (Shepard) has made a new life for himself with girlfriend Annie (Bell) – who doesn’t know the full extent of his past. When Annie gets a dream job in Los Angeles, however, Charlie has to go back there despite the fact that it might mean coming into contact with Alex Dimitri (Cooper), the man he testified against…
Veering between indie drama, road movie and cartoonish caper, you could say that the tone of Dax Shepard’s Hit & Run is somewhat uneven. In fairness, Shepard deserves bags of credit for pulling the whole thing together in a measly 10 weeks (from start to finish), especially when you also consider that he’s starring, writing, producing, co-directing (with David Palmer) and stunt driving. That said, it’s the end product that has to be judged though, and despite a certain level of charm, this action-comedy isn’t particularly exciting or funny.
Clearly influenced by Smokey And The Bandit (Shepard’s favourite movie) with undertones of True Romance, there’s definite ambition in here somewhere, but crucially it’s hard to care about the central relationship. On one hand, Dax’s Charlie is too much of self-justifying carpet (stand up for yourself man!), and on the other his girlfriend Annie (played by Shepard’s real-life girlfriend Kristen Bell) is a self-righteous whiner. Elsewhere, the rest of the cast (who apparently worked for free as a favour to Shepard) are reasonably good value in roles written specifically for them, including Bradley Cooper (as a Rastafarian-haired villain), Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum (as an obsessive ex-boyfriend) and Tom Arnold (as an incompetent US marshal).
While Shepard deserves credit for pulling the whole thing together, Hit & Run is an uneven action-comedy which isn’t particularly exciting or funny.