CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.
Blu-ray Review: Awful ‘Hit and Run’ Mistakes Shrill Pratfalls for Humor
CHICAGO – Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are an awfully cute couple. Their effortless puppy-dog chemistry is sweet without being cloying and endearing without verging into treacle. Resembling a more stretched-out and irreverent Zach Braff, Shepard makes Bell appear more at ease than she ever has before on film. I can’t imagine a better pairing for a romantic comedy.
How sad that these real-life lovebirds decided to make their debut in “Hit & Run,” an alleged comedy so pitifully devoid of laughter that it drains the viewer of every last ounce of merriment. It’s the sort of shrill, pratfall-laden junk that passed for entertainment back when the Hazzard cousins’ General Lee cheerfully soared into oblivion. If car chases, blood-spattered slapstick and humorous homophobic tirades sound like an appealing combination, then writer/co-director Shepard has made a movie for you.
Blu-ray Rating: 1.0/5.0
For everyone else, “Hit & Run” is an unbearably tedious ordeal salvaged only slightly by the few tender moments between Shepard and Bell. They’re so good together that it becomes increasingly painful to watch Shepard sabotage his own movie. The trouble starts when Tom Arnold, in a spectacularly unfunny turn, materializes as an obnoxiously incompetent federal marshal assigned to protect Yul Perrkins (Shepard), a man living under the phony name of “Charlie Bronson,” whose shady past has landed him in a Witness Protection Program. When his girlfriend, Annie (Bell), gets the job interview of a lifetime in L.A., he decides to drive her there against the wishes of Arnold and apparently everyone else on Planet Earth. Arnold is only the first of several dozen wretched eccentrics that Charlie and Annie encounter on their madcap misadventures. Perhaps the least amusing of all is Alex, a smug lowlife played by Bradley Cooper in his third consecutive bad film (he should thank his lucky stars that David O. Russell saw any shred of potential in him). He has an embittered riff about getting raped in prison that is so queasily ugly and mean-spirited that it somehow manages to grind the already stagnant film to an even more deadening halt.
Hit and Run was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 8th, 2013.
Photo credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Whenever a character makes a derogatory crack about gays or foreigners, Annie jumps in to correct them on their wrongheaded remarks. Thanks Annie, but no amount of self-reflexive pluck will be able to right this picture’s multitude of wrongs. And don’t even get me started on the film’s use of naked old people as a grotesque sight gag, evoking memories of the equally unseemly set-piece in “The Hangover.” Thankfully, Jason Bateman, ever the clear-eyed truth-teller, shows up in the film’s final minutes to observe, “This whole thing stinks!” Took the words right out of my mouth.
“Hit & Run” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio) and is available in a Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy/UltraViolet combo pack equipped with a pocket BLU app. An 18-minute gallery of deleted footage mainly consists of extended scenes where characters state precisely what we’re about to see them do in the next scene. Three super-brief featurettes have barely any time to shed light on what possessed Shepard to make this film. He does, however, drop one major hint: his favorite film in the history of cinema is “Smokey and the Bandit.”