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A romantic comedy road movie
Charlie Bronson lives in a sleepy town somewhere in Northern California. He's loving and supportive of his girlfriend Annie, who teaches at the local community college, and their life together seems to be safe and predictable, but all is not what it seems in the new comedy Hit & Run.
Charlie (Dax Shepard, Parenthood) is actually in witness protection. When Annie (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars) has a job interview in Los Angeles he offers to drive her there, even though his new identity depends on him staying in place. They set off in his supercharged 1967 Lincoln Continental. The car is so ostentatious that he finally confesses that he was the getaway car driver for a gang of bank robbers and later informed on them.
First Annie must stop at her ex-boyfriend Gil's place to collect her teaching certificate. Gil (Michael Rosenbaum, Smallville) is obsessive, hates Charlie and from this point the road trip starts to go very wrong as Gil discovers Charlie's real identity and contacts the gang he turned in.
Joy Bryant, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Hansen
Before they know it, Annie and Charlie are being chased by Gil and Randy (Tom Arnold, True Lies), a hapless US Marshal who is Charlie's witness protection handler. Randy's inept driving and gun handling are some of the funniest scenes in the movie as is his meeting with state cop Terry (Jess Rowland, Brother's Justice), who just happens to be Gil's brother and who also joins the chase.
From here the plot takes as many twists and turns as the chase scenes. Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) as the gang leader looks like a harmless spaced out surfer with blond dreadlocks but plays a very nasty character indeed.
In between the car chases, Annie and Charlie discuss their relationship, his use of politically incorrect terms and her work in non-violent conflict resolution. Their exchanges are amusing and help show how much Charlie has changed. It shouldn't work but it does, largely due to the chemistry between Shepherd and Bell, who are engaged in real life.
Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell
Another humorous touch is the clever use of pop culture references in the film with Gil using Facebook to find Alex and Terry consulting an iPhone app meant to find gay men that also comes in handy when chasing criminals.
In addition to starring (and reportedly doing his own stunt driving) Dax Shepard wrote and co-directed Hit & Run. The rest of cast seems to enjoy the ride which is part of the film's appeal.
Verdict: an enjoyable few hours with an offbeat combination of car chases, romance and comedy. 3/5
A word of caution: though the trailer is rated PG, the movie gets an MA15 rating for obscene language, nudity, sex and drug references. Not for children.