Hot Rod: A Must-See!
Rod's stunts are always failures in the most absurd, hilarious proportions, but he is never swayed in his determination to become world-renowned, mostly because he is driven by the memory of his late stuntman father. At home, he is equally determined to become an equal with his stepfather (Ian McShane) and the two engage in cringe-inducing, yet humorous fights in a way to work out their rivalry, while the mother (Sissy Spacek) looks on with a straight-faced nonchalance that is almost as funny as the fights themselves. When the stepfather becomes ill and is in need of a heart transplant, Rod is determined to raise the money for the operation so that his stepfather can become well enough again to engage Rod in combat. The way to do it: Stage a huge event in which he will jump fifteen school buses on his moped (which would break Kinevel's record of fourteen). But in order to even do that, he has to raise the money to secure the venue.
The fundraising opportunities are gut-busting. Rod sets himself on fire at children's birthday parties. He stands in the direct path of a swinging clothes dryer. He allows himself to become a human pinata. His crew supports him all along the way, sharing his vision with the same innocent naivete that makes the characters pitiful, yet likeable.
Samberg and his co-stars are the writers and creaters behind the SNL Digital Short videos that have become immensely popular thanks to the internet. "Lazy Sunday" and "Dick in a Box" should ring a bell. This film showcases their unique style of humor that will have you laughing from start to finish, although it does borrow in many instances from the Napoleon Dynamite school of off-kilter, understated humor that you will either get or be left bewildered by. Dynamite is still the superior film, as its pacing is more consistent, but Hot Rod makes up for it by being over the top and being stupid while not holding its characters in contempt.
There are many reasons to see "Hot Rod." It's quotable, stupid, and downright hilarious, but the most memorable moment in the film comes when Rod goes to his "quiet place."
You'll get it when you see it.
Gouda's Final Grade: A-
Posted by Allison M. Dickson