Often, a comedic film lacks that rare hilarity —hilari(tea) — that never dies. However, “Hit & Run” is an exceptionally true gem in this regard. Its laughter flame is contagious: It is witty and pragmatic at the same time.
The film’s opening scene is captivating. Annie (Kristen Bell) is in the throes of uneasiness as she prepares for her upcoming appointment to meet with her supervisor at a local college, Debby Kreeger (Kristin Chenoweth). While the two love birds are cuddling in bed, Charlie (Dax Shepard) helps Annie with a soothing and endearing message of self-empowerment and a marriage proposal. This opening scene really shows Bell’s wonderful acting ability. Her tears flow so naturally as if they had touched my inner core.
The time has come for Annie to have that face-to-face chat with Kristin, and let me tell you that this scene is undoubtedly Kreeger’s best, and one of my favorite acts in the screenplay. She parlays her character’s mischief cantankerously with her squeaky voice, and yet, it does not lose that laughter magic. This is all happening while she convinces Annie to head a sociology department away from the valley where they all currently reside.
With a big hovering decision to make, Annie informs Charlie of this great opportunity for her future, but for it to materialize, she needs to move down to Los Angeles. This subsequently creates a rift between the two as Charlie has that burning secret that he has never told Annie: he is under a witness protection program with US Marshal Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold) as his protector, and the valley is the place where he needs to stay. However, out of his love for Annie, he makes the decision and becomes very determined to leave and move in with Annie in Los Angeles and help pursue her dream career. The saga now continues and thickens. What ensues hereafter is the reason why this film is entitled “Hit & Run.”
This movie, written by Dax Shepard, is truly a labor of love. Many of Shepard’s friends have helped playing major and cameo roles, including Bradley Cooper, who plays one of the malevolent characters chasing Charlie and Annie.
Speaking of dedication and commitment, I also salute Executive Producer Jim Kasey and Producer Kim Waltrip. This amazing duo has strong ties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their films, “Expecting Mary” and “Adopt A Sailor,” were screened at the California Independent Film Festival (CAIFF) during my tenure as Program Director. They have always been in the frontier of producing high-caliber films, and “Hit & Run” is no different. With a small budget of $2 million, they defied all odds of delivering a comedic film that raises the par on excellence.
“Hit & Run” is a rare movie gem, and its hilarity is everyone’s cup of tea.