"Funny, But Mindless and Often Vulgar"
What You Need To Know:
HOT ROD is very funny at times, despite excessive adult humor, strong sexual elements and the protagonist’s bad relationship with his stepfather, which is not resolved in a positive way. The movie also has a strong pagan worldview celebrating rebellion, selfishness, and anything goes. HOT ROD accomplishes what it sets out to do – get laughs. But, if random, stupid, and often offensive humor isn’t your cup of tea, you probably won’t enjoy much of this movie, if any of it.
(PaPa, Ho, FR, LL, VV, SS, N, A, DD, MM) Strong pagan worldview celebrates rebellion, selfishness, and anything goes, plus homosexual elements and sexual immorality, as well as characters practice Tai Chi in order to “find their center”; 14 obscenities and profanities; strong comic violence such as excessive failed stunts which involve man crashing and slamming into objects, man beat with a stick, various hand-to-hand combat between a man and his stepfather, shrapnel gets stuck in man’s face, man throws ninja star at his stepson, some blood; strong sexual content includes bestiality painting, teenager keeps video of two dogs mating on his computer, and man thrusts his hips behind other men while he dances; upper male nudity and tattoo depicts rear male nudity; mild alcohol consumption; brief scenes of cigarette smoking and it is implied that man takes acid and acts crazy; and, teenager raises money to pay for his stepfather’s heart transplant so he can beat his stepfather in a fight when he is in full health, two instances of a martial arts move that causes the victim to defecate in his pants, tattoo of a man peeing on two logos accompanied by a graphic sexual explanation of the tattoo from radio host.
HOT ROD stars Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE fame. Rounding out the cast are Will Arnett from the underrated hit show ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and the wonderful Sissy Spacek. HOT ROD is far from extraordinary, boasting a plethora of “potty” jokes and sexual innuendo, but the acting is good, and some may enjoy the completely random, cleaner comedy.
The movie feels like a cross between the cult hit NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and the television show JACKASS, borrowing its crude humor and overly simple story structure from the former and the insane stunts in which someone is almost guaranteed to get hurt from the latter. HOT ROD disguises itself as a simple, independent movie but has plenty of action and even an epic stunt in the climax to appeal to larger audiences.
The story revolves around the character Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) who dreams of following in his late father’s footsteps and becoming a professional stuntman, rivaling daredevil Evel Knievel. He and his friends set up dangerous stunts around their neighborhood, and Rod attempts to perform them, usually failing miserably.
HOT ROD has plenty of questionable themes. Rod consistently brawls with his stepfather, hoping to one day defeat him so he can gain his respect. Respect does not come from obeying your father (or in this case, stepfather) but from being able to beat him to a pulp. When his stepfather falls ill and requires a heart transplant, Rod and his family cannot afford the $50,000 required to pay for the surgery. Thus, Rod decides to raise the money through his stunt gigs for the sole purpose of being able to beat up his stepfather when he recovers. Rod essentially cares nothing for his stepfather. He only wants the satisfaction of being the “bigger man.”
Admittedly, HOT ROD is very funny at times, despite excessive adult humor. Its shear randomness borders on the absurd but gets laughs because of, not in spite of, its spontaneity. During a dream sequence, when you might expect Rod’s father to say words of encouragement in his time of trouble, two men dressed up as a taco and a grilled cheese sandwich duke it out instead. Truth be told, HOT ROD is a stupid movie, and that’s why it’s funny. Few movies can pull this off effectively. NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, for example, though a cult hit among teenagers, left a lot to be desired.
Don’t expect your life to be changed by this movie. HOT ROD accomplishes what it sets out to do – get laughs. But, if random, stupid, and often offensive humor isn’t your cup of tea, you probably won’t enjoy this. Children should steer clear of this movie, and adults should be media wise before deciding whether or not to see HOT ROD.