A reformed getaway driver in the Witness Protection Program. A devoted girlfriend hoping to land her dream job in L.A. An irrationally jealous ex. A bumbling U.S. Marshal. A gay highway patrolman. A trio of vengeful bank robbers. And one very disappointed dad. Somehow, Dax Shepard’s screenplay manages to bring these disparate characters crashing together in a climax that is both explosive and—in the moment, anyway—believable.
Unfortunately, it’s a bumpy ride getting to that climax. Hit & Run tries to juggle serious relationship drama (the usual conflict: “How can I trust you if you won’t talk to me?”), old-school high-speed car chases, zany slapstick (provided by Tom Arnold), and rapid-fire verbal comedy (with the best dialogue given to—or possibly improvised by—Bradley Cooper, in a much-advertised, memorable, but not-terribly-lengthy role)—and, as a consequence, it never really develops its own rhythm, its own voice.
The lying trailer, which promises more laughs-per-minute than The Hangover, is partially to blame, of course, but it hardly causes the film’s tonal confusion; it merely highlights it. Hit & Run doesn’t know what flavor of comedy it wants to be, attempts just about all of them, and therefore fails to consistently satisfy any viewer; a more honest advertising campaign wouldn’t change that.