‘Hit & Run’ is Swift & Fun

Hit & Run, a low-budget film with Dax Shepard in the roles of actor, writer and co-director, is an oddly appealing mix of sweetness, raunch, anti-PC rants and drag racing. It’s not a consistent mix, which leads to points where the movie drags, but overall it’s a successful accomplishment for Shepard.

Shepard stars as a getaway driver for bank robbers who’s now living under witness protection under the name of Charlie Bronson. His new life, complete with new girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell, Shepard’s real-life fiancée), is going well – until Annie gets a shot at her dream job, conveniently located in the city Charlie escaped: Los Angeles.

Against his better judgment, Charlie decides to drive Annie to her interview. Making matters more complicated is his decision to use his old getaway car to take her, which draws people out of the woodwork to come after Charlie.

In addition to Shepard and Bell, who are dynamite on screen together, the cast is filled with several excellent supporting turns. Most notable is Bradley Cooper as Alex Demitri, the guy Charlie turned on for his deal. Cooper switches between sensitive and insane so often, it’s hard to guess what move he’ll make next. Also providing laughs are Tom Arnold, Michael Rosenbaum, and cameos from Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth.

That’s not to say the film is without its issues. Far from it. Shepard’s particular style emphasizes talking over action, which becomes an issue at points where the film would be better served by more action. After all, a movie built in part around car chases should have some killer chase sequences, and the ones Shepard provides are occasionally too chaotic (and at times, abrupt) to actually follow.

Overall, though, Hit & Run does more right than wrong. In spite of its low-budget indie status, or perhaps because of it, Hit & Run feels more substantive than many of the comedies released this summer. It’s a refreshing find.

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