2007 Certificate: 12

Synopsis

Moped-gunning suburban stuntman Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) has set his sights on jumping a record-breaking fifteen school buses... and raising $50,000 for his abusive step-dad's heart operation. The only obstacle in his way to celebrity and charitable acclaim is... he's rubbish. From the same comedy gene pool as Superbad and Knocked Up, this is superior seat-of-your-pants fare with some laugh-out-loud moments.

Director

  • Akiva Schaffer

Cast

  • Andy Samberg

  • Isla Fisher

  • Ian McShane

  • Sissy Spacek

  • Bill Hader

Review

"Have you re-worked the take-off ramp?" is the innocent inquiry posed by self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Kimble before launching himself over a post office truck.

"No, we didn't have time," is the ominous reply.

Cue Rod's crumpled, quivering body curled up in the road alongside a dented van and a mangled moped. He pulls himself to his feet...and vomits on the road.

Welcome to the self-deluding world of "Hot" Rod, a teenage misfit whose totally unmerited self confidence wildly outweighs his latent abilities as a stuntman.

Surrounded by his compliant crew - nerdy stepbrother and team manager Kevin (Jorma Taccone), slacker idiot Dave (Superbad's Dave Hader) and psychopathic mechanic Rico (Danny McBride) - he notches up a litany of stunt flops - (nearly) jumping the local pool, dry bob-sleighing into a neighbour's car.

When he's not risking life and limb, Rod - whose late father was Evel Knievel's test rider - is embroiled in a macho turf war with his pumped-up stepdad Frank (McShane) while also desperate to earn his respect.

The chance comes when Frank suffers a heart seizure and needs $50,000 to pay for an operation. Rod announces he's going to raise the cash by beating Evel's record and jumping over 15 school buses. It's madness.

With a cast and writers drawn largely from the ranks of Saturday Night Live and South Park, this may not be the most finely crafted comedy but consistently hits the funny bone by virtue of its sheer bravado.

The charismatic Andy Samberg's Rod is a winning fellow with a seemingly limitless capacity for hard-knocks (the action is co-ordinated by Bourne Identity and Gladiator stunt supremo Nick Powell) only rivalled by Tom & Jerry. He really knows what it's like to be hit by a truck.

OK, so a lot of the humour is derived from setpieces that fly off at a tangent from the plot (the riot scene is a particular favourite) but the performances are endearing and it's hard to suppress a smile when this human Road Runner eventually pulls it off.

He'll break a few ribs - you'll split your sides.

Tim Evans