Cast: Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett
Director: Akiva Schaffer
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
While the longtime, legendary NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has been suffering from complete mediocrity for quite some time now, there has been a few bright spots of proven potential on the hit series and one of them is Andy Samberg. Samberg is famous for his involvement in the SNL Digital Short segments which have often become wildly popular on the Internet, including one featuring a rapping Natalie Portman and the incredibly outrageous parodic homage to white soul, the Emmy award-winning "Dick In A Box;"Â featuring Justin Timberlake.
SNL creator Lorne Michaels saw potential in the comic for his efforts and has rewarded him with his feature film debut. The end result is Hot Rod, now available on DVD.
Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) is a ne'er do well with a single solitary dream, to be stunt biker like his late father, who was a stuntman for the legendary Evel Knievel. However, his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane) often berates Rod's ambitions.
When he discovers that Frank doesn't have the money he needs for a heart transplant, Rod comes up with the most daredevil plan, to ride his bike over fifteen school buses. Now he must team up with his half brother Kevin (Jorma Taccone), his buddies Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny McBride), and his next-door neighbor Denise (Isla Fisher), who he secretly likes, to put it all together, raise the money, and prove to his father that he is indeed a true talent of the stuntman world.
While not having the skill of his more seemingly subdued SNL co-star Bill Hader, who made a surprisingly memorable comic splash on film in the hilarious Superbad Andy Samberg's brand of Gen-X, skater-punk-sensibility humor does add some life to Hot Rod. However, this, plus the considerably good cast, does little to undo the painful fact that Hot Rod unbearably suffers overall from an absolutely pedestrian and underdeveloped mess of a script.
The DVD's picture quality is in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The DVD also contains plenty of special features.
The first is audio commentary with director Akiva Schaffer and actors Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, who provide a fun and informative commentary here. The second are thirteen deleted or extended scenes cut from the film that are fairly extraneous, but often funny , which also feature optional commentary from the three of them.
The third feature is the featurette "Ancestors Protect Me: Behind The Scenes Of Hot Rod. It features often amusing behind-the-scenes footage, as well as interviews with director Akiva Schaffer and actors Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Jorma Taccone, and Bill Hader. Rounding out the special features is a fairly amusing, if slightly long outtake reel, featuring many alternate jokes and funny scenes that didn't
While Andy Samberg lacks in overall charisma or big-screen potential at this point, his unique brand of humor is welcome and adds to the film considerably. However, not even he is enough to turn the tide of absolute abysmal mediocrity of Hot Rod seemingly slapdash script.
Movie Grade: C
DVD Features Grade: B
Overall Grade: B-