I don’t know anyone who is not a fan of a good “stupid funny” movie. Be it Caddyshack, The Jerk, Stepbrothers, Half Baked, Billy Madison or hell, even The Naked Gun films, everyone I know loves these sort of films. You know the kind, you can throw it on at any time, and switch off your brain and have a fine ol’ time for a couple of hours. Don’t try to act like you are too good for a “stupid funny” comedy, because I will call you a liar. Today’s film most definitely fits into that category. It’s about a goofy 20-something who is still cruising on his childhood dream of being a stuntman. Today’s film is Hot Rod.
The (as of right now) first film from beloved on-line comedy troupe (and SNL favourites) The Lonely Island, Hot Rod tells the story of Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg), whose life revolves around becoming a great stuntman like his father. Unfortunately for him, his stunt tricks involve such things as jumping a BMX over a swimming pool and doing a luge run down the tallest hill in town. In addition, his dream is crushed at every turn by his uber-macho stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane), who takes perverse pride in kicking Rod’s ass but all that does is spur Rod on to try to become an even better stuntman. When Frank takes ill, it’s up to Rod and Team Hot Rod to raise the money for his operation so Rod can get his ultimate revenge and show Frank that he is a man.
For a film that has a pretty thin on the ground plot, it is more than able to stay entertaining throughout the runtime. And that comes down to the heart and likeability of the characters. Even though Rod’s dream is kinda goofy, his friends and family are all generally behind him. But of course, that is one of the staples of underdog films, and that is what Hot Rod is – a loving take on those 80s underdog films. Hell, Rod himself is the ultimate underdog (take THAT, Rey Mystrio) that you want to get behind right from the start. And thankfully, everyone in the film is, themselves, likeable and goofy in their own way, from the obvious goofiness of the main players, all the way down to cameos from Wil Arnett and Chris Parnell. You even get the (as of 2007) not played out Danny McBride doing his thing.
The best thing about this film, to me, is that it has managed to find the perfect balance between heart and goofy. For every moment of rampant stupidity in the film, there is a moment when you find yourself almost openly cheering for Rod to get the success that he wants – hell, there are even a few moments where they combine to make something so much better than both. And, let me tell you, this film has probably the greatest preparation montage I have ever seen (screw you Rocky IV, this is better); and just when you think it can’t get any better – it adds a group power walk to the mix. Then it becomes the funniest, and greatest, thing ever (all to the tune of You’re The Voice by Mr John Farnham).
If there was any doubt that this was always supposed to be a stupid funny movie, the role of Rod was originally supposed to go to Will Ferrell, who dropped out after realising that people were getting sick of him playing the manchild roles. However, I think that putting the film in the hands of The Lonely Island made for a much better film, as they were able to inject a fresher take on the style of film. There were multiple points in the film that I found myself cracking up completely, and I have a feeling that they were parts put in by the Lonely Island boys. Yes, I know I am a bit of a LI fanboy, and make no attempt to hide it, but really, I think they are hilarious.
If you like stupid humour, you’ll love this. If you don’t – WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?