Thursday, August 09, 2007

In defense of Hot Rod.

Fellow News and Record journalist Joe Killian chimed in on Hot Rod without having actually seen it. In the Culture Shock blog entry dubbed "Lots of weird movie news," he wrote:

SNL digital short genius Andy Samberg (of "Lazy Sunday" and "D*ck In a Box" fame) has made his first film, Hot Rod. And it is apparently just effing awful. Which is disappointing, but somehow not surprising. I like the guy and hope they paid him enough to do it his way next time.


If you click on the words 'just effing awful' you will be directed to an extremely negative reveiw of Hot Rod by USA Today's Claudia Puig. Puig obviously didn't like the film, which is fine, but at least she saw it. Killian has stated on several occasions that his job as a full-time reporter keeps him too busy to go out and see movies. This is fine as well, but I was worried that his unseen review might have been the death knell for anyone who read the post. That's why I wrote the following reply:

I'm fairly sure that Andy Samberg did in fact 'do it his way' with 'HOT ROD.' The film was co-written and directed by his Lonely Island team. Also, I am really sure that the movie is funny as heck - way funnier than the undeserving box-office smash "I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

USA Today's Claudia Puig describes "Rod" as a botched "sophomoric" comedy, but what she obviously failed to realize is that the movie was going for the absurd instead of sophomoric. In the real world, a character like Samberg's Rod Kimble wouldn't be able to survive, but "Hot Rod" isn't set in the real world. No, Rod and his friends live inside an 80's movie fantasy, loaded with power metal montages to glory, and people who use "Footloose"-esque 'punch-dancing' as an anger management technique. Also, any reviewer who watched the film, and did not comment on the amazing comedy work of "All the Real Girls" star Danny McBride, simply didn't get it.

As a piece of filmmaking, "Hot Rod" maintains that humble, back-yard movie quality that many people dug in Samberg's SNL shorts. The movie may not have the budget or laugh ratio to go down as the funniest movie of this year (a title which belongs to "Knocked-Up" so far), but its destiny lies in becoming a required college comedy along with the likes of "Super Troopers," "Office Space," and "Happy Gilmore." Mark my word, in five years, one will soon be able to find a copy of "Hot Rod" in nearly every college dorm room in America.

P.S. The "Hot Rod" soundtrack is probably the best $7.99 I have ever spent on iTunes. I especially dig the song "Head Honcho" from the Queens of the Stone Age under the guise of a fake hair metal band named 'Gown.'

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