Hot Rod

This past summer has spawned a great year of popular films. Overall, I liked most of what I saw, including the much-maligned Spider-Man 3 and Hostel: Part II. In addition to the summer blockbuster, we also got a nice sampling of screwball comedies, leading the season with Knocked Up and rounding it out with Superbad. Stuck in the middle was a hilarious little flick called Hot Rod.

Billed as “From the co-creators of the hilarious, Emmy winning SNL digital short D**K IN A BOX,” it’s not a surprise that this film is loaded with sophomoric humor. But for people like me who are fans of sophomoric humor, it’s a hoot.

Hot Rod tells the story of possibly the dumbest stuntman in the history of the world. It’s a heartwarming story because he never makes a jump, yet that doesn’t stop him from trying. It’s a mindless romp into endless stupidity, and it made me laugh.

Calling Hot Rod a stupid movie is not a dig at the film. It’s the ultimate praise because this is clearly what the filmmakers were going for. The low-brow slapstick humor and moronic gags are what make Hot Rod out to be one of the funniest films of the summer. Imagine a bunch of retarded high school kids got together to make their low-budget version of Talladega Nights… and ended up making a funnier film by far. This is the experience of Hot Rod.

While it contains some inappropriate sex and drug jokes, Hot Rod can even be fun with kids. Consider it to be a modern-day version of The Three Stooges, which isn’t exactly wholesome but has some hilarious slapstick. Of course, after watching it with my kids, I found myself yelling “No more stunts, guys!” out the back door several times that afternoon.

The DVD comes with a fine assortment of special features. It’s not loaded as you might expect with some comedies, but it has its moments. Leading off is a commentary by director Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone. There’s also a relatively unfocused behind-the-scenes feature that showcases more how Samberg likes to see crew members without their shirts and co-star Taccone like to run around pantless.

Finally, there’s an allotment of deleted and extended scenes as well as a Rod Kimble stuntman reel, which includes an email address at the end for bookings. (Sadly, if you send an email to, it comes back undeliverable.)

Grade: A-

Release Date: November 27, 2007
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 88 minutes
Number of Discs: 1
Cast: Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, Isla Fisher, Andy Samberg
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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