Release Date: 2007
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Why I picked this: The Lonely Island
This is a comedy that seems to have developed a following recently from younger movie watchers, even though the critics weren’t exactly fond of it. I can understand why “Hot Rod” is both loved and disliked. In my view, a lot of the comedy seemed to revolve around how lame Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone’s characters were, how weird Bill Hader were, and how Danny McBride and Will Arnett were essentially the same characters they always play. Their performances were very predictable. Yet I fell prey to them. The first half of the movie never failed to produce laughs from me. Akiva Schaffer, in his first feature film, is very good with comedic timing, and frames the more physical parts of the film, such as Samberg’s stunts to be as funny as possible. Cheesy music is appropriately used to give the movie its feel, and Andy Samberg, one of my favorite former SNL cast members, is a great comedic leading man. You can imagine him in Will Ferrell roles based on his performance in this movie. However, I always found the “lowest point” for the main characters to be where comedic movies like this struggle, as it’s difficult to sympathize with the protagonist and the attempts of humor come across as forced. It is no different with “Hot Rod.” The movie recovered quickly, but there are some bizarre and non-sensical gags that make little sense even in the context of the movie and are never pointed out by the characters. I have no idea what to think of them.
It’s not as quotable as other comedic classics, and it has some weak spots, but it gets enough laughs out of you to make the experience worthwhile.