Film Review – Hot Rod

I thought I needed to review this relatively old film. Mainly because I have recently watched it with my son and he finds it as funny as I do. If you like daft movies. Really silly ones of the Bill & Ted kind, then you will love Hot Rod.

I first saw this film in the middle east, in Jordan of all places. It was on some film channel in the hotel. I thought it was hilarious. Its definitely on of those movies; you either get it or you don’t. And if you get it, then it really is hilarious. This film was made way back in 2007 when it was a box office flop. But it has since gained cult status (whatever the hell that means). I just thought it was (and still is) extremely funny. And now so does my son…

Most of the characters are supposed to be late teens/early twenties (I suppose) but are clearly played by older actors. Rod is played by Andy Samberg, his dorky (half) brother Kevin is played by Jorma Taccone, while another of Rod’s crew (Dave) is played by Bill Hader who should be recognisable. Rod’s mother is played by Sissy Spacek. She plays the role completely straight as if not in a comedy, and that works well. Rod’s stepdad Frank is played by Ian McShane while Isla Fisher plays Rod’s love interest Denise.

Plot

Rod is trying to be a stuntman doing jumps on his (crappy) Tomos moped/scooter. He believes his deceased dad was a great stuntman who worked with the legendary Evel Knievel (Rod has a photograph of his dad with Evel). He is brave but clearly hopeless as are his “crew”. Basically they are a bunch of losers but the type that you want to succeed.

Rod’s stepdad (Frank) is always mocking Rod’s stuntman efforts and continually beats him in fights. Rod is determined to prove his stepdad wrong and eventually beat him one day in a fight to prove that he is a man and deserving of his stepdad’s respect. That day seems a long way off. But then Frank becomes terminally ill and the only thing that can save him is a heart transplant which costs the conveniently round figure of $50,000.

Rod decides he will jump 15 school buses to raise the money and his team set about training Rod. At the same time they raise funds by doing small (and incredibly daft) stunts at kids  parties and public shows.

In an effort to help, Kevin makes a short documentary film of Rod’s work and they sell-out the local theatre. That turns sour however as people just laugh at Rod. In anger Rod smashes the projector (and a car windscreen n the bargain) which costs him all the monies they have raised so far. When all seems lost a local AM radio station steps in to sponsor the big jump and the event is back on.

No spoiler alert required as it is up to you to watch the movie and see what happens.

Critique.

Personally I can’t fault it. Dani is on the same wavelength. We laughed till we cried watching it recently. But I understand that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I give it 5 out of 5 simply because it makes me (and Dani) laugh. A lot!

The “Cool Beans” scene was apparently almost taken out – Samberg and Taccone repeating the phrase “cool beans” until it evolves into a kind of pseudo-rap. The scene was left in the film’s last test screening and it seems that the (test) audience scored it highly as one of their favourite bits. You will know it if you have already seen the movie. Or, when you see the film you will definitely remember that scene.

The movie soundtrack features songs by Swedish rock band Europe. And there was me (and I am sure plenty of others) thinking they only had one song! There is also a great scene featuring John Farnham’s You’re The Voice.

If you like movies like Bill & Ted, Wayne’s World or any daft Adam Sandler movie (which is most of them), then you will love Hot Rod. If not then, well… you will probably think it stinks. It’s hard to see anything in between. But watch it just in case. You never know.

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