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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Ian McShane
Andy Samberg
Jorma Taccone
Isla Fisher
Sissy Spacek.
Directors
Akiva Schaffer.
Screenwriters
Pam Brady.
Running Time
88 minutes

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Hot Rod
Saturday Night Live: The Next Generation


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Plot
Rod (Samberg) wants to be a legendary stuntman and win the respect of his grouchy stepdad Frank (McShane). When it’s revealed that Frank needs a heart transplant, Rod pledges to jump his bike over 15 buses - one more than even Evel Knievel managed - to raise the funds.


Review
Hot Rod

Fans of Saturday Night Live, Justin Timberlake or gift-wrapped genitalia will be acquainted with the YouTube classic Dick In A Box.

Written by SNL up-and-comers Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, and performed by Samberg and Timberlake, the music video is a bonkers R ’n’ B paean to the joys of putting your “junk” into a holed receptacle and presenting it to the love of your life.

Now, Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone have  jumped to the big screen, following in the footsteps of SNL forerunners from Will Ferrell to Tina Fey. With this tale of an aspiring but inept stuntman (Samberg), scripted by South Park’s Pam Brady, the good news is that their talent’s confirmed. Hot Rod brims over with fried-gold sight gags, nostalgia for the more embarrassing elements of the ’80s/early ’90s and a warped sense of innocence. Bad news is, there’s not a lot that’s fresh here.

Ironically, it’s Ferrell who’s ruined it for them. Without Anchorman, the set-up (four buddies natter in surreal non-sequiturs) would seem innovative. Then there are the echoes of recent nerd-fests Napoleon Dynamite (Rod’s sullenness and flouncy run) and Eagle Vs Shark (Rod’s paternal issues). A film so strange it should be a novelty instead has a strong feeling of been-there-done-that.

That said, there’s a lot to enjoy. Most of it is around the far fringes of the formula-twisting plot, in which Rod must jump 15 buses on his shonky bike to get his dying stepdad a heart transplant, so Rod can fight him, one day beat him and gain his respect.

The best moments are musical, like a Footloose-spoofing sequence in which Rod gambols around a forest glade, a training montage in which a grizzled fisherman is inspired to oil Rod up, and a truly bizarre but brilliant exchange that will soon be found on YouTube under the keywords “Cool Beans”.

Will Arnett plays a typically entertaining variation on his usual smirking slimeball as Rod’s love rival for a neighbourhood girl (Isla Fisher, sadly toned down from her Wedding Crashers exuberance), and it’s hard to argue with a dialogue scene based around the MC Hammer song Too Legit To Quit.

Well worth checking out, then, if you like your comedy supremely silly, but ultimately memorable only as a series of great skits mixed in with some dead patches.


Verdict
A good cinema bow for the Dick In A Box crew, especially when you consider that Ferrell’s lead debut was A Night At The Roxbury.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Hot Rod
Empire Star Rating

Hilarious

This film is hilarious! Some people must have had a sense of humour bypass! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andybee76 at 22:06, 10 January 2014 | Report This Post


Seen too many of these kinds of films to laugh at many of the gags though did really enjoy the fight he had with his dad at the end... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hellomrthompson at 12:07, 16 June 2010 | Report This Post


Hot Rod is Cool Beans

People familiar with YouTube sensation The Lonely Island and their hit music videos, including Dick in a Box and Jizz in my Pants, will have been looking forward to this movie since it was first announced. However these kinds of movies are very hard to get right, and the odds were that this movie would fail to deliver. But it doesn't. The story revolves around a cheesy stuntman named Rod (Andy Samberg), trying to win the respect of his stepdad by beating him in a fight. But when his stepda... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by COLO at 19:42, 13 June 2010 | Report This Post


Rod Kimble = Pure Fire

I knew nothing about this film before I watched it but from the first botched stunt to the last I laughed my little arse off. Cool beans, indeed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by muchobenny at 18:49, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


Didn't expect much from it but it ended up being better than I thought. The scene where he's fallin down the hill is hilarious but that was the only laugh out loud part except "cool beans!" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnPaul1996 at 21:23, 08 June 2008 | Report This Post


best scenes

I didn't expect much from this film but the punch-dance sequence, the asian guy dry humping and cool beans topped it off... very funny! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by liem_D@yahoo.com.au at 06:01, 26 May 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

cool beans! loved it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by angrytapes at 16:37, 21 May 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Worst. Film. Ever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bendoofus at 11:09, 21 May 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

Yeah I laughed heartily a couple of times - especially when he fell over and tumbled down the hill! ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 16:26, 02 May 2008 | Report This Post


funny as hell ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Aodhan12 at 10:59, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post


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