Armond White: Dax Shephard's "Hit & Run" Flattens the Road Movie
Forced to reveal his former identity, Charlie's journey exposes the differences in his relationship with Annie (Kristin Bell) which turns the film into a series of class confrontations, contrasting female politically correctness with male survival instincts. She's a social pedagogue with a degree in conflict resolution from Stanford and he's a motor-loving, former getaway driver. Movie contrivances don't come more transparent than this. Hit & Run is only interesting for showing the distance we've traveled since road movies in the 1970s and '80s explored American habits and character. Here character and behavior are made-up and manipulated just plot contrivance.
Charlie was obviously named for the yuppie Jeff Daniels played in Jonathan Demme's 1986 Something Wild (despite a tony reference to British criminal Charles Bronson), but Shepard and Palmer fail to connect the sense of personal naivete to cultural experience that made Demme's film a classic about national aspiration. Demme's road movie comedy was classic multiculti zeitgeist film about the spiritual transformation possible in the American circumstances of social mobility. Hit & Run emphasizes smart-ass plot twists and violent action sequences no better than a TV pilot.
Shepherd achieves a TV actor's one-dimensional caricature, a flatness shared with Bell's hollow-eyed tk, so unlike Melanie Griffith's desperately emotional Audrey in Something Wild. Shepherd and Bell's superficiality matches the over-eclectic music score which evokes no region or sensibility. Background characters used to supply road movies with a democratic sense of place but Hit & Run features a Keystone Kops relay of clowns from criminals to cops that betrays a TV-based simplistic view of personality. There's a reckless sense of social interaction that condescends to Americans' current, bewildered sense of self. To read the full review at City Arts [click here. ](http://cityarts.info/2012/08/26/running-from-the-past/)
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