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Hot Rod: More Like Lukewarm Rod

After meeting the funny, friendly Andy Samberg and his buddies ("The Dudes") I wanted very much to give Hot Rod a great review. But I just can't do it. Luckily, Samberg himself said once in a separate interview that he knows the movie will get bad reviews. So... woo hoo! I can write this guilt-free.

The premise of Hot Rod is pretty funny, really. Rod Kimble (Samberg) gets no respect from his surly stepfather Frank (Ian McShane). So when he learns that Frank will die unless he gets an expensive heart transplant, Rod vows to raise the money to get Frank a new heart so he can then kick his ass and prove that he's a man. Rod and his buddies cook up a plan for a fundraising event in which Rod will jump his motorbike over a bunch of buses. Montages set to '80s music ensue. That's just the plot, though, so to see what I thought of the movie,

Despite not having written the movie, the entire thing has the look and feel of one of Samberg and Friends' "SNL" shorts that goes on for way, way too long. It was originally written as a vehicle for Will Ferrell, and indeed it seems just like a Will Ferrell movie... without Will Ferrell. I think Will Ferrell can sell through a lot of poor scripts just on his fully committed, blithely innocent charm. Andy Samberg... not so much. It's funny that Samberg's buddy and Hot Rod director Akiva Schaffer claims to have tweaked the script to make it more appropriate to Samberg's humor because they didn't want it to be "like Samberg doing a Will Ferrell impression." Because that's exactly what it seems to be.

I enjoyed the allusions to 80s movies — all the synth music, the homages to Rad and Footloose, the wacky low-budget tone. And I love anything Isla Fisher does, though as the generic "girl" part in the movie she's insultingly underused. The focus isn't on her at all, but on these dudes and their gimmicky antics. The most entertaining and relaxed scenes are those that include "Arrested Development"'s Will Arnett whose breezy ability to play the ultimate douchebag comes in handy once again.

Andy Samberg has a great comedic mind for writing "SNL" shorts ("Dick in a Box" was hilarious, for example), but he isn't commanding enough to be the lead in a feature film. In fact, he doesn't seem particularly comfortable playing the lead in a feature film. Next time someone writes a Will Ferrell film, I hope they can get Will Ferrell to be in it.

Photos courtesy of Paramount

Join The Conversation
jiujiu jiujiu 10 years
There aren't consistent laughs in this movie, but there are enough HUGE laughs that this film works. Andy has major star power, and at this point I don't think it's fair to compare him with Will Ferrell. Actually, he had a lot of young-Will-Ferrell-ness about him. Will Ferrell would have really taken away from the film had he signed on to it and probably cheapened the laughter. I look forward to seeing what Andy does in the next few years.
SassAndBide SassAndBide 10 years
"so I can stare adoringly at Andy Samberg for two hours. And like, half the time he'll probably be wearing the moustache which will make it that much better" LOL tralala the moustache is hilarious he handed it out to audiences at his interviews then girls and guys all wore em :rotfl:
ad2121 ad2121 10 years
Too bad... I LOVE Will Arnett
tralalala tralalala 10 years
I know I'm going to hate this movie, but I'm still going to see it so I can stare adoringly at Andy Samberg for two hours. And like, half the time he'll probably be wearing the moustache which will make it that much better
pinkflats pinkflats 10 years
yeah I didn't think Andy was ready yet for his first lead role. It's bit early for him to jump into big screens. Yeah I know he has done some things like Dick in a box but now enough to translate a commanding presence in the big screens. He's def for sure no Will Ferrell, but Jimmy Fallon I can see that. What do you think Buzz?
icantdeletethisstupidaccount icantdeletethisstupidaccount 10 years
Those who aren't a fan of the Dudes will probably feel the same. The humor is very odd, its not so much the slap-stick physical comedy the trailers make it appear. I thought Akiva did a good job of not letting Andy get upstaged by the incredible talent around him (Ian Mcshane, JORMA, Hader...). I also thought it was hilarious.
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i didn't really want to see this - but man, i love his giant hair!
pebby01 pebby01 10 years
ouch...i saw it today and LOVED it. i encourage everyone to see it!! it was really hilarious
SassAndBide SassAndBide 10 years
IM GONNA SEE IT and get my own opinion which will probably be biased since I ADORE andy ;)
audreystar audreystar 10 years
ouch. i can bet the humor is right up my alley. i am all about dumb humor.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I'm not surprised. This didn't look very funny to me.
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 10 years
I'll still see it!
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