Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are best in the moments when they’re not vrooming around in cars.
HIT & RUN (Dax Shepard, David Palmer). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (August 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Actor Dax Shepard's weird mashup of romantic comedy and car-chase thriller - he wrote, produced and co-directed as well as stars in it - is a pleasant but disposable picture about Charlie, a decent guy in witness protection who decides to leave the program (and risk his neck) to drive his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell), to Los Angeles for a potentially life-changing job interview.
As our put-upon protagonists make their way along 500 miles of California freeways en route to L.A., they're pursued by Charlie's easily flustered minder (Tom Arnold), Annie's stalkerish ex-boyfriend (Michael Rosenbaum), a pair of cops (Jess Rowland and Carly Hatter) and eventually by Charlie's old gang, led by a dreadlocked Bradley Cooper.
Charlie's a brilliant driver, but apparently so is everyone else, so cars spin around each other until our heroes find an alley or an open gate and make a speedy escape. The stunt work's impressive, and it's probably what got Hit & Run made, but it's ultimately a distraction.
The movie's really about Charlie and Annie and the conversations they have when they're not running for their lives, and real-life couple Shepard and Bell are great as people who've been together for a year but are only starting to get to know each other.
I just wish Shepard had been more confident as a writer and given them more time off the road.