Review: 'Hit and Run' a Hit Worth Running To

Annie (Kristen Bell) and Charlie (Dax Shepard) are your average, everyday couple. They tease each other mercilessly, but there's clearly love underneath the jocular facade. Annie is a professor on the rise, while Charlie is in witness protection. Wait a sec, witness protection? Indeed, Charlie finds himself protected, day and night, by a bumbling Federal Marshall named Randy (Tom Arnold). Annie gets a big break for a job she really wants but it's in Los Angeles, which means leaving her beloved Charlie behind. Charlie's got plenty of enemies waiting for him in Los Angeles, like his former crime crew headed up by Bradley Cooper. Naturally, Charlie chooses to drive her to LA, consequences be damned.

The movie's rockiest moments are at the very beginning, with the introduction of Annie and Charlie's relationship and Randy's role in Charlie's life. Everyone is just trying just a little too hard, and it's unclear where the story is going. Once they hit the road, "Hit and Run" takes off. Almost all of the interactions are clever, though slightly over-the-top, with plenty of one-liners lobbed between real-life couple Bell and Shepard. Cooper also has room to shine, as do David Koechner, Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth. Luckily, the rest of the film redeems its clumsy beginning, proof positive that this Dax Shepard fellow can act and direct. (He's joined by David Palmer in the director's chair.)

There are at least four solid chase scenes to behold here, and the scripting is clever enough to give us different car match-ups each time. Ever wondered what a mini-van looks like in an oversteer? Look no further. A new and shiny Corvette is used with extreme prejudice, while a simply lovely 1967 Lincoln Continental is shown off like a prize-winning pie recipe.

"Hit and Run" does the one thing each and every film must do if it's to leave a favorable impression – stick the landing. The film gets stronger as it progresses, to the point where you're will to forgive the initial awkwardness. Music is woven in fluidly, and slow motion is used to great effect. There are inauthentic, contrived moments where it's clear the cast and crew are in on the joke. However, it's eminently clear that the goal here is fun, and fun is achieved on the regular. It's fairly close, in terms of scope, to "The Mexican" from back in 2001.

You'll hate "Hit and Run" if you're not into the crass modern styling of violent cinema, and if a car chase leaves you yawning, then this won't be for you. However, for the rest of us, the great silent majority, "Hit and Run" is a pleasant little treat.

Grade: B