Clichés, dodgy haircuts and nerds don't make for original comedy flick fodder but 'Hot Rod' somehow manages to outdo its counterparts on a number of fronts, ensuring plenty of laughs, even if the action is a bit disjointed at times.
Rod Kimble (Samberg) is a man on a mission. He dreams of becoming the world's greatest stuntman, the only problem being his inability to ever successfully complete a stunt. Trying to live up to the reputation of his dead stuntman father, Rod has something to prove to everyone. He wants his cruel stepfather Frank (McShane) to stop testing how macho he is. He wants girl-next-door Denise (Fisher) to fall in love with him and he wants his 'crew' - Dave (Hader), Rico (McBride) and half-brother Kevin (Taccone) - to believe in him as their leader.
When Rod discovers that his stepfather will die without an urgent heart transplant he sets about raising $50,000 to pay for the operation - not because of his mother's (Spacek) heartbreak over Frank's condition but because he wants to beat Frank in a fight at least once before he dies and he can't tussle with a man who is on his death-bed. The training that follows is all kinds of funny, complete with spoof montages, over-the-top fall sequences and a great soundtrack to complement.
'Hot Rod' is a glorious homage to all things Eighties - hair, clothes, and even the movies that preceded it - drawing out stereotypes and mocking itself in the process. The film features some fantastic acting performances, particularly from veteran small-screen star Ian McShane and movie newcomer Andy Samberg, of 'Saturday Night Live' fame. Samberg proves that he is leading man material and is worthy of a lengthy film career, based on the comic genius he injects into his role here.
The idea behind 'Hot Rod' was a great one and its humour is so obvious that it is side-splitting but, running in at just 88 minutes, some elements of the movie feel rushed, for instance the love story with Denise, in which Isla Fisher is wastefully under-used. But while the overall story might not be the strongest, the gags are priceless as stand-alones.
'Hot Rod' brings us the type of silly comedy that will force you to laugh out loud for its duration - never a bad thing.