“Hot Rod” wasn’t supposed to be this good. I say this having followed Ardy and the gang at The Lonely Island since before they all got jobs at Saturday Night Live. It was a special kind of humor that only existed in the world of viral videos and self-contained websites. Some people might say that it’s another sign that attention deficit humor is becoming the norm of the day, but I say that they aren’t looking at what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s the whole subtle homage to the mid 80s teen comedy/sports film combined with an unhealthy love of “American Anthem” and “Footloose”.
The DVD is a single disc edition affair that does a good job at presenting the feature with a healthy amount of insight into the production. The commentary sports the entire Lonely Island crew of Samberg, Taccone and the film’s director. But, the fun is had with the Behind the Scenes featurette and the deleted scenes. For some reason, I can watch the scene with Kevin singing to his stuffed animals over and over again. It captures this bizarre sense of innocence that I haven’t seen in a long time. What I did notice is that everything improved when you got the camera off of Andy Samberg.
That’s not to say that I don’t care for the star of the film. It’s just that everyone else seemed to kick it up more than he did. Samberg has done Rod Kimble before, but Danny McBride brought something real to the film. When he kicked the living hell out of the RV owner, you were frightened and amused. Hell, there’s also Bill Hader’s character recollection of how he dropped acid while at work. Samberg can’t really handle these freaky moments without coming across as smug. Maybe, it’s something to do with his overexposure on Saturday Night Live.
But, there’s so much unseen talent by the masses that gets crammed into the film. Hell, you even get to see Chris Parnell and Will Arnett turn in strong turns in what could be throwaway roles. If that’s not enough, there’s Ian McShane. To know McShane is to love him and you all should love him. This man gave us three years of his life on “Deadwood” and you bastards didn’t even watch it in record numbers. For shame, America, for shame. Pick up this film and watch the glee in his eye when he beats the shit out of Rod. This is vindicative glee that comes not from anger, but from a desire to improve someone. It’s vicious and hard, but it’s gallows humor funny.
I wouldn’t want to close out this review without mentioning that this is a film that is ripe for a cult following. Bill Hader, Danny McBride and Jorma Taccone steal the show, as Rod’s crew. Specifically, you’ve got to look at Jorma Taccone. Jorma is part of the Lonely Island troupe and he usually gets thrown into the place of being the badass. The first time I watched this, I didn’t even recognize the guy in the role. Hell, I thought that they got the younger Botwin kid from “Weeds” to do the flick. If that weren’t enough, there are the moments. The jokes that come so fast, that you miss a lot on your first viewing. If that’s not doing it for you, there’s the punch-dance routine in Rod’s quiet place. That’s worth a blind buy. So do it, AV Army. Make this disc crack the Top 10. I’ll be checking Amazon and the Nielsen charts.