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Hit and Run' more run than hit

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Chase comedy has moments, but falls flat

August's end also marks the end of the summer movie season. This means that the last couple of weeks of that month are the repository for many of the studios' also-rans. These are films that don't fit the blockbuster bill, nor do they warrant inclusion in the fall's lineup of more sophisticated movies. Calling it a wasteland is probably harsh, but not overly so.

This is where we find movies such as 'Hit and Run,' a comedy that seems to be the pet project of actor Dax Shepard (TV's 'Parenthood'). By all appearances, this is Shepard's magnum opus not only did he star in the film, but he wrote and co-directed it as well. Heck, he's even listed in the credits as an editor.

The film stars Shepard as Charlie Bronson, a man living in small-town California under the auspices of the Witness Protection program. He has found love in this town with Annie (Kristen Bell, 'Big Miracle'), a teacher at the local community college. Charlie has also befriended the US Marshal in charge of his protection, the well-meaningly inept Randy (Tom Arnold, 'Camp Fred').

However, when Annie gets a job offer in Los Angeles the very town that Charlie had to leave for his own safety he's forced to make a choice. He chooses love, ducking out on Randy and offering to drive Annie to LA in order to make her interview on time.

Alas, it's never that simple. Annie's jealous scumbag of an ex (Michael Rosenbaum, TV's 'Smallville') discovers Charlie's true identity and alerts Alex Dimitri (Bradley Cooper, 'Limitless'), the leader of Charlie's old gang, that Charlie is coming back to town.

Before long, the chase is on and secrets begin to be revealed.

Shepard and Bell are the center of the story. Their chemistry is a bit limited, which is surprising considering that they are a real-life couple (though there are a few exchanges that Shepard clearly lifted from their lives). She's not bad, but he should really stick to his wheelhouse portrayals of slightly dull-witted slacker-types.

Arnold is surprisingly good as the incompetent Randy. And Cooper (who is slumming it a bit here) is clearly having a great time, all blonde dreadlocks and over-the-top quirkiness. Rosenbaum is suitably slimy, while Kristen Chenowith (TV's 'GCB') and Beau Bridges ('Eden') are pro's pros as Annie's boss and Charlie's dad, respectively.

The story is a bit thin and there's a bit too much of the shaky handheld camera work that's all the rage these days. Some of it doesn't make a whole lot of sense and there's an awful lot of driving/car chasing going on. It has some funny moments and the cast is clearly having a blast but there's just not a whole lot here.

So 'Hit and Run' isn't a particularly good movie. That said, it is still the 'Citizen Kane' of sort of lame witness protection chase comedies, so at least there's that.

1.5 out of 5

Last modified on Thursday, 06 September 2012 07:51

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