JLFM - wrote on 08/13/13
As I sat watching Hot Rod, I was constantly reminded of Napoleon Dynamite. Each have sort of a YouTube-esque feel, and they both revolve around similar characters and feature very similar humor. The primary differences between the two films is that Hot Rod has more well-known actors, a bigger budget, and very, very few successful gags. Napoleon Dynamite was no masterpiece, but it at least provided a sufficient amount of chuckles to satisfy audiences willing to accept it for what it is. In the case of a film like Hot Rod, even those willing to be entertained by Hot Rod on its own terms will find very little to laugh, or even smile at.
Rod Kimble wishes to be a stuntman like his late father, and is constantly doing stupid stunts. Rod is sadly inept, so many stunts end with him getting hurt. Rod wishes to prove to his stepfather that he is a man, though, and the only way Rod can do this, is to beat his stepfather up. So, when Rod's stepfather has a heart condition that requires a heart transplant for him to live, Rod must raise the money for this, so that his stepfather can live long enough to see Rod prove himself to be a man.
The humor is simply dumb. The many gags in this movie can only be described as idiotic, aiming for those with high toleration for such idiocy, or for those with low maturity. It goes without saying, though I'll say it anyway: Hot Rod is not for those looking for a sophisticated comedy.
There are various points in this film where events occur for seemingly no reason other than to create hilarity. A random street brawl suddenly occurs during one scene, and the chaos only served to give me a head ache as opposed to the laughter that Hot Rod was trying to achieve. There are many other examples of this throughout the film, too numerous to name. It just feels like the writers were too lazy to write a series of cohesive events, so basically anything goes in this movie.
Many gags are painfully unfunny. Some are quite predictable. One supposedly humorous scene involves Rod beating up his 60 year-old stepfather, but this is more painful and sad to watch than funny.
I already knew I probably wouldn't like this film before it even started. But seeing as Hot Rod isn't even a full 90 minutes, I figured any pain would be brief. Unfortunately for me, the film just seems to go on forever. Unfunny comedies often feel long, but this felt like an eternity.
The cast does try pretty hard, but the material is so unfunny, it's hard to blame the performances for being as weak as they are. Andy Samberg plays the imbecilic Rod Kimble perfectly. It's a shame he doesn't do anything particularly funny. The other cast members aren't even worth mentioning.
The score, composed by Trevor Rabin, consists of terribly dated sounding synthesizer tunes that sound like a nightmare from the 80's. It's simply terrible, and the soundtrack consists of an assortment of dated rock songs. Between the "music" and the awful screenplay, I wonder if I would have enjoyed Hot Rod more if the film was set on mute.
Hot Rod is stupid. There really is no other way to describe it. Even Hot Rod's biggest defenders would have a difficult time denying that. The few gags that are worth smiling or laughing at actually make you feel guilty for doing so, simply because the humor is so absurdly dumb. Even those in the mood for a mindless comedy will certainly be disappointed by this obvious cash-in on the Napoleon Dynamite trend.