The Movie Binge

Hot Rod

Hot Rod ain't, cuz it's not.

While Andy Samberg has consistently been one of the better elements on the surpassingly uneven Saturday Night Live for the past few seasons, it's obvious that he still isn't ready for prime time. I was hoping to just end my review right there without even having seen Hot Rod, but after a week of begging and pleading I finally found someone to go see it with me. What can I say? Misery loves company.

Samberg's character, the titular "Hot" Rod Kimble believes his father was a stuntman, is striving via hand-to-hand combat to attain the approval of his step-father, and generally spends his time launching his moped off of things. He is attended in this by his crew, a passel of borderline retards, and a curiously (if not found in the context of a ridiculously implausible summer movie) hot neighbor (played flatly here, even by stock-love-interest summer movie standards, by Isla Fisher). Anyway, Rod's step-dad needs surgery that his insurance won't cover, so Rod decides to out-do Evel Knievel's record by jumping over 15 school buses to raise the money so that his step-dad can get better so Rod can finally kick his ass in a fight. I hope no one's looking for the logic in that last sentence.

Essentially, if you want to see multiple impossible injuries sustained, improbable explosions, over-acting, under-acting, fake moustachios, non-sequitir thrust-dancing, Footloose-inspired angry-dancing (all sorts of hyphenated dancing, really), random singing, flash riots, poop jokes, an underused Will Arnett, Europe songs that aren't "The Final Countdown," over-pronounced silent h's, human piñatas, hemorrhaging head wounds, an unconvincing acid trip, an octopus and a kitten as spirit animals, a taco fighting a grilled cheese sandwich, and Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Day, then by all means see Hot Rod. You obviously love totally unrelated dumb stuff.

It's not that all of the jokes don't come off in the movie. It's just that the ratio of good to bad jokes is excrutiatingly low, so much so that at times I'd completely forgotten that what I was watching was ostensibly a comedy. The good jokes, and the more inspiredly absurdist tangents, could have made a riotous five-minute sketch, but never 88 minutes of enjoyable summer movie. "Dick in a Box" it ain't.