In this age of 120-minutes of sketch comedy disguised as film and improbable occurrences concerning menstrual blood passing for comedy (see: Superbad and Knocked Up), how refreshing it was to see Hot Rod. It might be from many of the same people involved in those other abominations, but this time they tone down the tastelessness in order to pull together a genuinely funny story. There's a lot of random humour, but somehow it works here. I'm guessing we cared more about Rod and his stunt-making because his dopiness came out of real naivete rather than utter stupidity or grossness. He wasn't a Solomon brother, let's say. He was more a Derek Zoolander, a model idiot with his heart in the right place. At any rate, he was someone worth cheering for.
I was concerned, though, that I wouldn't like Andy Samberg. He's one of those comedians you hear about, but unless you've got SNL, never actually see. His rubber face and screaming line delivery made me think he was being groomed as the next Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler, and though there is much of that in his performance here, it's not so bad that it overwhelms his other talents, such as his earnestness, on display, for instance, when he explains to Denise about his lack of Hammer-style legitimacy. I liked him here, and would watch him again.
As much as I liked Samberg, I also liked all the other SNL alums here that I've hated in so many other films -- Bill Hader, Chris Parnell, etc. This movie proved that these people can use their particular style of humour for good and not evil. I even liked the ridiculous '80s movie riffing which has just become so boring and obvious lately.
5. Rod chooses a "safety word" to help him if he gets in trouble while performing a downhill slalom.The punch-dance beefs it up a whole extra point for me.
4. The grilled cheese / taco fight.
3. The "You're the Voice" moment that becomes a riot -- "what the hell!?"
2. "Don't let you dads eat pie!"
Oh, Hot Rod.
You were indeed better and funnier than I was expecting. But that's not saying a hell of a lot. I'm comparing you to Will Ferrell comedies, and most anything from the Judd Apatow camp. Not fair, perhaps, but I've become jaded after years of stupid sketch comedy masquerading as feature films.
And in the end, you were really nothing more than that. But you were not as bad as most. And for that, you have my respect.