Title – Hot Rod (2007)
Director – Akiva Schaffer (The Watch)
Cast – Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek
Plot – Self-made stuntman extraordinaire Rod Kimble (Samberg) will stop at nothing to raise money for his sick step dad Frank (McShane) so he can get well and finally lose a one on one battle between father and son.
“Smack destiny in the face”
Review by Eddie on 09/06/2021
A box-office bomb upon release and a film that holds a 39% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing, it may seem sacrilegious on face value to call low-brow comedy Hot Rod a classic but I am always willing to go in to bat for a film that remains these 14 years on from release, endlessly quotable and re-watchable.
The first feature length effort from the gang known as Lonely Island, made up of Andy Samberg, Jorma Tacone and Akiva Schaffer, Hot Rod was arguably a film ahead of its time and has since been reevaluated by audiences around the world who have begun to understand that the journey of self-professed stuntman Rod Kimble to raise money for his sick father to finally give him the beating of a lifetime is pure comedic gold if watched in the right frame of mind.
One of the rare times I have personally watched a film directly after first viewing (I had to check whether what I had just seen was in fact real), Hot Rod’s endless barrage of one liners, set pieces and loveable characters ensures that there’s always something happening when it comes to keeping the comedic ball rolling and throughout the films brief sub-90 minute runtime there’s more moments of comedy gold than many higher profile films would be even able to dream about.
From the opening moments we are introduced to this 80’s infused and inspired tale, Schaffer’s feature sets the tone that remains constant throughout with a hearty dosage of body comedy and mismanaged stunts, film references (featuring an all time classic Footloose homage), memorable one liners (“My safety word is whisky”) and the best use of Australian music legend John Farnham’s music ever littering a loveable film that accepts what it is and runs with it with gleeful abandon.
Examining and enjoying the film these many moons on from initial release also acts as a stunning throwback to the early work of many of its stars with Samberg and supports from the likes of Danny McBride, Bill Hader and the always enjoyable Isla Fisher combining to create an all star cast of already made and future stars that were all clearly enjoying themselves with a film that can now sit proudly alongside the likes of Airplane, Top Secret! and Naked Gun as one of the all-time great dumb comedies that is also deceptively smart and observant.
Final Say –
Far from high-class cinema, Hot Rod is a genuinely great low-brow comedy that has lost none of its joy or fun in the years that have followed its sadly misunderstood beginnings that have now gone on to create a legacy for all of its stars and makers.
4 out of the blue riots out of 5