Hot Rod

I should have stopped at the Natalie Portman digital short.
James Dittiger
I should have stopped at the Natalie Portman digital short.

The Saturday Night Live comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer—collectively known as the Lonely Island—shot to the heights of YouTube celebrity with their parody music videos (including the immortal "Lazy Sunday," a.k.a. "The Chronic of Narnia"). Unfortunately, their aggressively silly debut feature film, which stars Samberg as an amateur motorcycle stuntman who dreams of Evil Knievel–style glory, more immediately recalls a different sort of viral video—the ones where anomic suburban teens film themselves engaging in backyard wrestling throwdowns and other sub- Jackassantics. It's not that Hot Rod, which Schaffer directed from a script (by Pam Brady) originally conceived as a Will Ferrell vehicle, doesn't have its moments: I dug the Flashdance-style training montages in which Samberg readies himself for a death-defying 15-bus leap, and I found it hard to resist the movie's '80s nostalgia (running the gamut from the long-forgotten Paul Rodriguez comedy The Whoopee Boysto the musical stylings of Europe). But like so many movies from the SNL factory, there are perhaps 10 to 15 minutes of good, gag-worthy material here stretched out to interminable lengths. Or to put it another way: It's a very small dick in an oversized box.

 
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