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Hit and Run(6/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 95 minutes.

Not for children.

I think they could appeal to what is more elevated in people instead of the common denominator. Marlon Brando on movies, 1955.

Brando's criticism of movies at the dawn of his career applies to this film in spades. Written and co-directed (with David Palmer) by Dax Shepard, the film is replete with F-bombs and other vulgar language as well as full frontal male and female nudity. I attended a screening that included a Q&A with Shepard, his co-star (and girlfriend in real life) Kristen Bell, and David Palmer. They all dropped F-bombs in their responses to a theater full of people, even Bell, so it's not surprising that the language in their film is from the gutter.

And that's a shame because this is actually a fairly entertaining movie that could have had broad appeal for the entire family. As it is, however, it's certainly not a film for children. Shepard should know better because he says the film was inspired by Smokey and the Bandit (1977), which he says he's seen "30 times." Had it been filled with this language, he would have been too young to see it when it came out (he was 2 years old in 1977), or for many years afterwards.

The gestation of the movie came when a friend called Dax and said he had some financing for a car chase movie and inquired if Dax didn't have an idea for one. Even though he didn't, Dax said he did, and spent the next two days developing one for a meet. He wrote it in 3 weeks, they got the financing (although it originally was Lionsgate, who didn't end up involved), and shot it in five weeks.

The relationship between Annie (Bell) and Charlie Bronson (Palmer), who is in the witness protection program, is touching and holds the movie together as they commence to drive to Los Angeles so Annie can interview for a job, all the while being pursued by bad guys led by Bradley Cooper.

There are a lot of car-driving stunts and Shepard and Bell did not have doubles, which probably never would have been allowed had this not been a low budget Indie.

I thought the first 30 minutes dragged quite a bit and that the dialogue was forced. After that the car chase starts and lasts for the rest of the film and it is more interesting.

It would be nice if a small Indie like this could get some traction, but the foul language is a big distraction.

August 18, 2012