Hit by Lightning Is a Black Comedy Without Blackness or Comedy


Maybe the most interesting thing about Hit by Lightning is that the only two women with speaking roles have separate, faintly unplaceable European accents. Unfortunately, they never share a scene.

Through an Internet dating service, Ricky Miller (Jon Cryer), a middle-aged human cringe who manages a chain restaurant, meets Danita (Stephanie Szostak), the embodiment of a moronic, misogynist stereotype — “You’re, like, Maxim-hot and you don’t even know it,” says Ricky. She can actually cite Steve Buscemi films Reservoir Dogs and Fargo, which is supposedly remarkable, making her the dream girlfriend of frat dudes from 1996 and also probably Kevin Smith and definitely Ricky. “Put on ESPN and text me when you hear the hockey scores,” she tells him, a line of stupid “cool girl” dialogue that’s punctuated by the sound of Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn smashing her forehead against a theater seatback somewhere. But maybe it’s all kind of an act? Because Danita actually wants Ricky to kill her husband? It’s a black-comedy plot without any blackness or actual comedy, unless mugging and bro-heiming by Mad TV‘s Will Sasso counts as hilarious.

Writer-director Ricky Blitt, who’s written for Family Guy, could have taken a page from that show’s ensanguined sister series, American Dad, for which the punchline to every joke is a maiming or a violent death. Instead, he opts for sluggish plot twists, hackneyed bro-jokes, and a repertoire of cinematography that consists entirely of scene-punctuating camera pushes and uninteresting pans.