A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like Jackass and The Dudesons before it, Hot Rod is a nearly nonstop cavalcade of stunts, pratfalls, and injuries. However, Rod never gets seriously hurt, and teens may be tempted to attempt several of the stunts. The movie also talks about the death of Rod's father and the animosity his stepfather holds for him, which may be difficult for teens who have been through the same. There's also lots of profanity, crude humor, and drug-related jokes.
What's the story?
Rod (Andy Samberg ) believes himself to be the son of a deceased stuntman who used to test stunts for Evel Knievel. All he wants is to live up to his dad's legacy and kick his gnarled stepfather, Frank's (Deadwood's Ian McShane), butt. When Frank falls ill, Rod can't accept that Frank might die without getting the chance to win one fight against him. So he sets about to earn the $50,000 Frank needs for surgery so he can live long enough to lose to Rod's mighty assault.
Is it any good?
If Jackass, Napoleon Dynamite, and the Saturday Night Live viral video "Lazy Sunday" had a love child, HOT ROD would be it, in all its dumb, dirty glory. And like any completely gratifying summer comedy, Hot Rod is far better than the sum of its parts. Somehow Andy Samberg, the co-writer and SNL castmember, manages to soften up the extreme violence of Jackass, capture the doofus anti-hero of Napoleon Dynamite, and liberally apply the nerdy awesomeness of "Lazy Sunday." There's a reason he's an "Interweb" superstar.
There are so many fun references here, from the power ballad while Rod "punch-dances" out his rage at Frank's illness to the synchronized dancing Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny R. McBride) do in the convenience store parking lot to "Two of Hearts." It's even somewhat smart. Sure, there's the overly ironic moments that just get self-referential -- like when Barry Pasternack (fellow SNL cast member Chris Parnell) notes the conveniently tidy sum Rod needs to raise for Frank's surgery -- but there are also many clever moments. When Rod sees the crowd's reaction to his awesome stunts, you can almost see how stars of those YouTube videos must feel when they realize people aren't laughing with them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of dangerous stunts like those Rod attempts and at which he usually fails. Unlike shows like Jackass, this is fictional, and teens don't see the physical effects these stunts have on the people who attempt them. Why are the stunts, in particular, and violence, in general, funny in this movie?
- In theaters: August 2, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: November 27, 2007
- Cast: Andy Samberg, Chris Parnell, Isla Fisher
- Director: Akiva Schaffer
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude humor, language, some comic drug-related and violent content.
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