Andy Samberg is cool beans. At least he is on SNL, where he rocked that “Dick in a Box” video with Justin Timberlake. But his screen debut is out of the Will Ferrell reject pile. Just when you want Hot Rod to rev, it stalls.
Samberg plays Rod Kimble, a wanna-be stunt man with no talent for the game. Though his suburban mom (Sissy Spacek, underused) gets him, his stepdad, Frank (Ian McShane, overqualified), thinks Rod is dead wood. So why does Rod try to raise fifty grand for Frank’s heart operation by doing a motorcycle jump over fifteen school buses? So he can kick Frank’s ass. The joke is repeated so often that all humor evaporates. And Wedding Crashers live wire Isla Fisher is drained of personality as Rod’s dream girl.
Samberg and his Lonely Island buds from SNL (director Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Raccone as Rod’s brother) do have a knack for sight gags, such as Rod’s punch dance and his extended fall down a hill. But the film’s low-key Wayne’s World vibe takes it only so far. I laughed, then I wished it was funnier, then I just wished it would end.