Welcome to this week’s installment of It Came from the Bargain Bin! It looks like our gift from The Bin this week has come in the form of a DVD comedy starring a few guys from the long time running hit, late night sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live! Created in 1975 by The King of Canada (No, not Hockey great Wayne Gretzky) but none other than Mr. Lorne Michaels. I have a feeling that many Canadians out there would disagree with the crowning of Lorne Michaels as King of Canada, but what do I know, I’m just an American and Canada has a Prime Minister and a damn good one for that matter!!…..I think. Lets not get off subject here. Although this week’s movie is not directly related to any SNL sketches such as movies like Wayne’s World (1992) or It’s Pat (1994), you could say that this movie is somewhere in the Saturday Night Live movie family tree. Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone were all hired as writers for SNL in 2005 and brought a new edge to the show with digital shorts with titles like, “D*** in a Box”, “Three-Way”, and “Mother Lover”. Like many wildly successful SNL writers and/or actors the three friends were destined for the big screen, so along with the help other fellow SNL co-star Bill Hader and the not yet star of Eastbound and Down, Danny McBride, a movie was made. A movie that could only come from the minds of people like Pam Brady who wrote “Team America: World Police” (2004) and “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), and of course the warped minds of SNL digital short writers Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone. This week’s Pick from The Bin is the 2007 comedy……..Hot Rod!
Written by: Pam Brady
Directed by: Akiva Schaffer
Starring: Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane
Reviewed by: Joe Sikes
Meet Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg). Like most people, Rod has a dream. Unlike most people, Rod’s dream is to be a stunt man. Actually, Rod believes that he IS a stunt man. You see, Rod’s father passed away years ago, supposedly in a stunt accident while working as back up driver for the great Evel Knievel. It has always been Rod’s destiny to be a stunt man and damned if anything will stop him! Rod lives with his Mom, Marie Powell (Sissy Spacek), his stepfather, Frank Powell, and his younger brother Kevin Powell (Jorma Taccone). Rod’s stepfather is always presenting Rod with over the top one on one physical battles to prove to Rod that he will never be as much as a man as his good old stepdad. One day when Rod arrives home he receives news from his mother that Frank is very ill. Frank is in need of a heart transplant but this is not covered by insurance because Frank is too high risk. Suddenly, Frank does not have much time left and Rod has yet earned the respect that he craves from his alpha-male stepdad. Frank reveals to Rod that it’s gonna cost fifty grand for the transplant. Rod is bound and determined to save Frank just so he can have another chance to kick his stepdad’s ass. But how is Rod going to save the one adult male role model in his life?
After retreating to his “quiet place”, dancing with great emotion, and falling violently down a very steep hill, Rod sees a billboard reading “Do you have what it takes to make… one BIG jump? Convinced that this billboard is delivering him a message Rod announces to his buddies Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny McBride) and his brother, Kevin that he knows how he is going to raise the money for his step dad’s transplant. Rod has decided that he is going to jump fifteen buses. Fifteen buses is one more than Evel Knievel jumped. This stunt is obviously very dangerous but with the help of his best buddies or crew, Rod just might make the biggest jump that his town has ever seen. Problem is, Rod really sucks at his chosen trade and not only that but his neighbor Denise (Isla Fisher), whom Rod has a secret crush on, has arrived home from college, thus adding even more pressure that Rod really doesn’t need. Now all Rod has to do is get himself in top physical condition, raise money to rent the fifteen buses, fund the ramp construction, design and purchase hats and wristbands and a nine dollar per Diem for each crew member. The odds certainly are not in Rod’s favor but isn’t that how heroes are created? You will have to check out Hot Rod to find out if Rod indeed becomes a hero or if he fails and super step dad Frank kicks the bucket.
Hot Rod is definitely one funny movie with no shortage of just plain ridiculousness. There are scenes in Hot Rod that make you laugh out loud and there are scenes that miss but this is to be expected from a comedy that does not break for a second from it’s goal of achieving absolute hilarity. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that Hot Rod achieved super comedy status but with the help of a rocking eighties soundtrack that helps provide laughs on its own, I do feel that it is certainly funny enough to achieve 2 out of 3 horrible stuntmen. See you next week with another pick from The Bin!