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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
I wanted to see Hit & Run a very long time ago, it seems. It looked entertaining to me. I never got around to it when it was (briefly) in theaters, and I pretty much forgot about it afterwards. Luckily, I stumbled upon it via Netflix streaming. Now that I have seen it, I cannot really say that my life is better for it.
The thing is that I am not exactly sure what this movie was trying to do. The tone of this movie is all over the place. Writer/Co-Director/Star Dax Shepard, I think, set out to make a comedy, but seemed to get bored with doing that at various parts of the movie. You have a comedy bit. Then you get a serious dramatic scene followed by an action sequence. The movie does not know what it wants to be.
Not that you cannot bend genres within a movie. In fact, many movies do just that with much success. With Hit & Run, though, the transitions are not subtle at all. There is no blending between the tones. Because of that, it makes the movie frustrating at times.
Even the comedy bits are all over the place. There are times when it tries to be very broad and goofy with cartoony characters. Something you might see on a Chuck Lorre show. Other times, it tries to be witty with clever word play and/or awkward conversations like you might see on something like It’s Always Sunny or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Both types of comedy are fine, but you have to stick with one if you want your movie to work. It does not work together if you keep switching your style from scene to scene. To illustrate my point, you cannot take Sheldon Cooper and drop him in Larry David’s world. It just will not work (short of a complete reworking of the character).
I guess what I am getting at with all of this is that Hit & Run is a very unfocused film searching for an identity. And that is quite unfortunate, because the talent is actually quite good. While Dax Shepard is a bit generic, the rest including Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper, Beau Bridges, Michael Rosenbaum, and, yes, even Kristen Bell are very good with the material that they are given. Unfortunately, the sum of Hit & Run’s parts is not greater than the whole.