Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Hot Rod (2007)
12aContains moderate violence, sex references and one use of strong language

This agreeable comedy is the debut feature of Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg, so we shouldn't be too surprised that it feels more like a loosely connected set of sketches than an actual movie. Following the template established by his fellow SNL alumnus Will Ferrell, Sandberg plays a lovable idiot with a passion for motorcycle jumps. Ever optimistic, he won't let a complete lack of talent interfere with his dream of raising 50,000 big ones for his dad's heart bypass operation.

Dad, played with gnarly enthusiasm by the ever-marvellous Ian McShane, is a macho moron who insists on testing his son's manhood by regularly beating him up, and sneering at Samberg's accident-prone efforts to save his life. Love interest is provided by Isla Fisher, but she gets little chance to show off her comic talents; this is very much Samberg's movie, a succession of failed stunts and disastrous pratfalls of the kind you might find any day of the week on youtube.


Though it's as disposable as a plastic razor, Hot Rod is not without a few good yuks. The film scores most of its laughs by mocking the excesses of 1980s aspirational flicks like Flashdance and The Karate Kid. We are treated to a couple of funny montages set to pounding electro rock, while the climactic stunt - an attempt to leap 15 school buses - is a proper punch-the-air moment. It's a shame that we have to sit through quite so much erratic slapstick and half-baked verbal surrealism in order to get there.

Hot Rod is out in the UK on 28th Sept 2007.

End Credits

Director: Akiva Schaffer

Writer: Pam Brady

Stars: Andy Samberg, Ian McShane, Isla Fisher, Joma Taccone, Bill Hader

Genre: Comedy

Length: 88 minutes

Cinema: 28 September 2007

Country: USA

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