HIT & RUN – Review by Susan Granger

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Revving up its raunchy, R-rated engine, this car chase caper comedy is the story of Charlie Bronson, a.k.a. Yul Perrkins (comedian Dax Shepard), a former getaway driver who impulsively breaks out of the government’s Witness Protection Program to ferry his sociology professor fiancée, Annie Bean (Kristen Bell), from the tiny northern California town of Milton Valley to Los Angeles so she can interview for a ‘dream job’ as head of an anger-management program. They’re pursued by bumbling, accident-prone United States Marshal Randy Anson (Tom Arnold) and trying to elude vengeance-seeking Alex Dmitri (Bradley Cooper –in bleached-out dreadlocks!), the ex-con bank robber whom Yul had double-crossed by turning state’s evidence and testifying against him and two gang members.

A confessed car fanatic-and-collector, writer/director Dax Shepard says he and his co-director David Palmer (previous collaborators on the mock documentary “Brother’s Justice”) were inspired by Burt Reynolds’ “Smokey and the Bandit” (1997), placing Charlie and Annie in a souped-up, black 1967 Lincoln Continental, looking just like the sleek sedan in “The Matrix.” Even though Charlie’s supposed to be a former stock-car driver, he’s never much of a daredevil drag-racer behind the wheel, so don’t expect extravagant stunt work.

Real-life partners, Shepard (TV’s “Parenthood”) and Kristen Bell (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) spin an affectionate romantic chemistry, and there’s amiably raucous, profanity-laden repartee among the eccentric, easy-going ensemble that includes Kristin Chenoweth as Bell’s well-meaning, pill-popping boss, Beau Bridges as Charlie’s obnoxious dad, Joy Bryant (Shepard’s “Parenthood” co-star) as Alex’s girl-friend and Charlie’s ex, and Michael Rosenbaum as Annie’s pathologically jealous ex-boyfriend with Jess Rowland as his gay cop brother.

For those who enjoy cinematic gaffes, watch carefully during the opening scene in which Randy is driving to Charlie Bronson’s house. He’s talking on an iPhone that he’s holding upside-down, which is not too difficult to spot since the lock button and headphone jack are visibly near his mouth.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to1 0, “Hit & Run” is a silly, sputtering 6, screeching some lowbrow, low-budget laughs before it runs out of gas.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.