Friends have benefits
AX Shepard puts his friends, fiance Kristen Bell and even his own vehicles to good use in Hit & Run, a fun, infectious little car-chase comedy.
Made on a tiny budget, the movie’s stunts and chases are nothing much, but the lack of resources steers the story away from action and toward the characters, who are wry, irreverent and even endearing.
Screenwriter Shepard, the Parenthood co-star who directed Hit & Run with David Palmer, tailors the roles to suit his pals, including Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Kristin Chenoweth and Parenthood co-star Joy Bryant.
The result is like a student film made by pros, weirdly idiosyncratic but efficiently paced. It’s well-scripted and well-acted and if Hit & Run lingers too long on so-so gags and inside jokes Shepard and his friends found funny, it compensates with a freewheeling spirit that pulls viewers along for the ride.
Shepard stars as a guy in witness protection who took the name Charlie Bronson – just why is one of the subtly amusing bits of Hit & Run. A former getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers, Charlie betrayed his pals for a sort-of noble reason, but Shepard doesn’t play him as a hoodlum with a halo. Charlie’s a man who did wrong, is trying to make amends but offers no excuses for his misdeeds and is willing to pay the price should they come back to haunt him. Of course, they do.
Now living in rural California with academic Annie (Bell), Charlie decides to break cover and drive her back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, where she’s got an interview for her dream job running a campus program in conflict resolution.
Through the scheming of her old
Beau Bridges, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard in a scene from fun road comedy