The story of Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg), amateur stuntman. Rod hates his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane), and wants to prove to him that he’s a man by beating him up. When Frank gets sick and needs a heart transplant, Rod sets out to raise enough funds to get him a new heart, so that he can then kill him in a fight and prove that he’s a man. How? By jumping 15 school buses – one more than Evil Kenivel.
The script was originally written for Will Ferrell, and it’s got his fingerprints all over it. Rod is exactly the kind of man-child that has become Ferrell’s trademark, and Andy Samberg does an excellent job of filling his shoes. However, there’s no getting around the fact there’s a reason Will Ferrell didn’t make this film, and it’s because the script isn’t all that strong. Despite this, Samberg and the rest of his team (Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader and Danny McBride), flanked by the ever-lovely Isla Fisher, make a good job of the material available.
The 80’s soundtrack is a wonderful piece of the film’s cheesiness, and consists mostly of Europe songs (tacky classics like Ninja and Cherokee feature), punctuated by classics like John Farnham’s You’re The Voice. There are some genuinely great scenes, such as Rod’s punch dancing in the forest, followed by the longest fall in human history, which takes on a bit of a “John Cleese running out of the forest in The Holy Grail” level of humour it goes on so long.
Overall, Hot Rod is an enjoyable film, with a few gags that will make you laugh out loud, but despite the best efforts of Samberg and crew, it never quite outgrows its status as Will Ferrell left-overs. Despite this, I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing Samberg’s next role. B-.