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For twenty years we have expoused our personal opinion that there is a difference between "Film" and "Movies". That there are different templates for that "film" category depending on how indoctrinated a film's creators are by their training. That discussion has nothing to do with Hit and Run. We felt the need to restate the case as we wrap our first twenty years of writing reviews and head into the next however many years may come. So . . . Hit and Run . . .
IN SHORT: Best Movie of the Year (so far). [Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content. . 96 minutes]
That being written let us say that Hit and Run earns its "R" rating with a plethora of four letter words and a couple of scenes implying octogenarian sex. Reg'lar folk in our audience were making comparisons to the The Wedding Crasher movies, whose producers helmed this film; that kind of crudity is about right. Hit and Run's big twist comes in the middle, essentially breaking one film's story into two different movies -- just go with that -- and entertaining the whole way through.
Movie one is simple: Charlie (Dax Shepard) and Annie (Kristen Bell) are in love. It's been a bliss-filled year of romance in Milton, California -- a town so far out in the boonies that it may as well be in Nevada. Charlie pops the question hours before Annie's boss at Milton Valley College, the pill-popping Debbie (Kristin Chenoweth) offers her a job teaching at a university in Los Angeles. Charlie used to live in Los Angeles. He has sworn never to return to that city. Debbie's "offer" is more a "take the LA job or your fired" kind of deal. The pair spend a fitful night contemplating the possible end of their relationship.
As we wrote, Charlie loves Annie. So he opens the barn, in which a big ol' huge honker of a land cruisin' Lincoln Continental has been waiting (for the film's drive to LA). Charlie has retrofitted the car to run on bio-diesel fuel. It's clean and green and the only "correct" thingie in the whole comedy, which shifts into somewhat-drama mode when Annie realizes that her Teaching Certificate is sitting in a book of things still in the possession of her ex-boyfriend Gil (Michael Rosenbaum). Gil isn't about to let Annie - who he still believes is his one and only love - leave with Charlie. He runs the license plate number of the Lincoln, discovers that Charlie is really in Witness Protection and feeds said info to Charlie's ex-evil doer Alex Dmitri (Bradley Cooper) via Facebook friending.
Trying to explain the story in a coherent manner only makes the thing sound beyond coherent. Let us just say that the hardest thing any writer has to do, to be successful, is write believable dialog. Dax Shepard's screenplay, whether driving the story or to bending the characters over backwards to let us learn more about them, is way beyond good. It's flat out entertaining.
Movie Two is one long car chase, which involves County Sherriff Terry Rathbinn (Jess Rowland), a clumsy nebbish of a Federal Marshal named Randy (Tom Arnold), a phone app called "Pouncer" and an awkward family reunion between Charlie -- whose real name is Yul Clint Perkins -- and his father, Clint (Beau Bridges). Unlike a lot of movies which are equally car chase driven, this one is more fun than a slap on the rear with a sorority initiation paddle (like the one on the wall behind Debbie's desk.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hit and Run, he would have paid . . .
Go. See. Laugh your butt off. (unless you have issues with bad language or nudity, in which case you want to stay home).
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