Hot Rod (2007)

Self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Kimble is preparing for the jump of his life – to clear fifteen buses to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank’s life-saving heart operation.

Andy Samberg does what he does best, as a slightly dumb yet genuinely sympathetic manboy who believes he is a stunt man. It’s a formulaic tale, but holds an inspirational underdog type of comedy similar to that of Waynes World, with some truly brilliant sequences that border on the intensely absurd. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Samberg and his Lonely Island buddies, given his work on SNL, the excellent Brooklyn 99 and the bafflingly stupid trailer that just got released for 7 Days of Hell – if you are expecting anything remotely intelligent, then look elsewhere.

Featuring an all-star line up consisting of Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, and Bill Hader, it has all the components for an excellent piece of comedic cinema. While it could be a little grating, the unpredictability of the nonsensical actions of our trusty crew kept me laughing until the end. It’s one of those films that will improve with future viewings, as I am confident that there are many elements of silliness in each scene that I either missed, or simply want to watch again.

A perfect blend of slapstick physical humour like this scene where our favoured stunt man tries to jump a mail truck, or quick-witted and highly quotable scenes like this where the gangs simple inability to think of ways to describe themselves differently spawns a back and forth that had me laughing away. The interchangeability but varied nature of the jokes found in Hot Rod ultimately mean that for all its dead moments, it is largely remembered as a long sequence of funny skits, but no matter how stupid it may seem, you can’t deny its versatility.

I had heard really mixed reviews coming into this film, but ended up happily surprised.  Hot Rod is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but then comedy never is. It’s such a struggle to find any ‘new’ comedies on Netflix, and the ones that tend to see mainstream releases really don’t do much to set themselves apart. At least you can say that Hot Rod brings something a little different to the table, but then he’d probably try to jump it.

Hot Rod is available on Netflix UK

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