Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Style’s too weird.
I can say with pride that I remember the days of Evil Knievel. Nowadays, I’m sure people have heard of the name at least, but they don’t remember the level of entertainment he brought. Back then, it was absolutely amazing to set your calendar for his next jump. It would be hosted on a major network, and everyone watched it. The whole family anticipated what he did because back then…it was so cool. Now, you hear about these stunts now and then and it’s cool to check out if you’re bored enough, but let’s be honest…you have better things to do. Times have changed. That didn’t stop me from watching Hot Rod, a movie that makes fun of this entire era…but overall with good taste.
Hot Rod is a little tale about a chap named Rod, obviously, played by SNL alum Andy Samberg. This guy’s dream is clear – he wishes to one day be a great stunt man like his father before him. His father worked alongside Evil Knievel and tested the jumps before Evil took all the credit, you see. Anyways, when Rod learns that his stepfather needs a heart transplant, Rod vows to take his trusty moped and jump 15 school busses to raise money for the operation. Which, by the way, makes total sense.
Say what you will about the Samberg man, I actually think he is an incredibly talented young man with a bright future. He was one of the craftiest and funniest cast members on Saturday Night Live and his SNL Digital Shorts are still talked about today. I also really enjoy his current FOX TV show, Brooklynn Nine-Nine, which is one of the funniest shows on tv right now. Hot Rod? Well out of everything he’s ever done, I wouldn’t say this is the worst thing he’s done. That’s My Boy takes the cake for that. Other than that, I wasn’t a huge fan of this film, and I’ll try to explain why.
What they were trying to do with the comedy in this film is reminiscent of the comedy in Napoleon Dynamite. Random humor mixed with random concepts, funny edits, and unforgettable characters. Well that’s all fun and games, but the characters were just okay. I like his comedy, but Samberg just didn’t bring the film up to what it could be. I could see where they were going with it easily, but it falls short because the film just feels too weird to work. So did Napoleon Dynamite, but that film seemed to be more self-aware of its idiocracies than this film. Truthfully, I didn’t really care for the characters. I liked their stupidity, but they just felt too bland to make any significant impact in the film.
I’ll tell you what does make sense, though. This film feels like a very long SNL Digital Short. Why? Well not only because of Andy Samberg, but plenty of other SNL cast members show up – and it is also produced by none other than SNL creator himself, Lorne Michaels. So what’s a long short? An SNL Digital Production? Who knows, all I know is that it felt a little longer than it should have. So for the most part, I was simply disappointed in opportunity wasted in this film.
Hot Rod is good if you’re a fan of Andy Samberg and his often idiotic humor. Also, if you are a fan of repetitious and physical humor, you got yourself a winner here!
It falls apart at the tone. First, you think it’s a dumb comedy, then you think it’s a secretly important and emotional family drama, and then you think it’s worthless, and then you think it’s meaningful. The problem is that it has elements of many genres, when its best bet was just to stick with stupid and random humor.
Rod Kimble: I used to be legit. I was too legit. I was too legit to quit. but now I’m not legit. I’m unlegit. And for that reason, I must quit.