Hot Rod

Plot: Every stunt man needs to start somewhere, and for Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg), it’s his neighborhood. Along with a couple friends, Rod begins preparations for an elaborate stunt in the hopes of raising enough money for his abusive stepfather to get a heart transplant so he can get healthy … and Rod can attempt to beat him up again.

Who’s it for: You’ve got to appreciate stupid comedies. There is definitely repetitive humor, and it runs long in parts, but there are a few scenes that should induce tears (of joy).

Expectations: I like Andy Samberg’s work on “Saturday Night Live,” but he never struck me as having the talent of a Will Ferrell, Phil Hartman or even a Jimmy Fallon, so the jury was still out for me.

SCORECARD

Actors:

Andy Samberg as Rod Kimble: Samberg knows comedy. There’s a close-up of him putting on his stunt outfit, complete with fake moustache, that totally sells you on the fact that Rod is an arrogant idiot and you’re just along for the ride … and crash.
Grade: 8

Ian McShane as Frank Powell: Absolutely perfect. Frank is an abusive stepfather in a sweet way. And no one could play that like McShane. If you’ve watched him in “Deadwood,” you’ll love this comedic turn.
Grade: 9

Isla Fisher as Denise: Yes, she looks good, just like she did in “Wedding Crashers.” But unfortunately there’s never a good reason given for her to be with Rod and his friends. The younger audience won’t mind, but it should annoy the older crowd just a little.
Grade: 5

Talking: If you still find yourself saying, “Cool beans,” then this is your movie. Sure, sometimes the jokes are thin, but overall it works well.
Grade: 6

Sights and sounds: Hands down the funniest scene is when Rod goes to his quiet place and busts out in a “Footloose”-style dance rage. It’s followed by Rod falling down a mountain that keeps going and going to the point where you grow tired of the joke and then you laugh again. Plus, Rod’s moped requires peddling; that’s always funny.
Grade: 7

OVERALL

“Hot Rod” has training montages, quality comedic actors, funny outfits and references the stupidity of itself. My favorite part was there is no specific timeframe given for the movie. Cell phones, the Internet, ’80s fashion and ’70s style are all thrown together for a winning combination. And sure, by the end you are rooting for Rod to succeed mainly because you don’t want him to crash anymore, but it’s good for some belly laughs, so yes, this Rod is pretty hot.

Overall Grade: 7


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