In film, there is something known as the B-movie phenomenon.  That’s when a movie is so bad that it actually becomes enjoyable.  The double feature Grindhouse which was released on DVD not so long ago really drew upon that B-movie legacy to create a modern-day example of the seventies exploitation films best known for their B status.  It’s a fact – the B-movie is back.  Much of the new generation of comedy is drawing from this phenomenon, that it can be so bad that’s it’s actually hilarious and enjoyable to watch.  Truth is, it actually works when it comes to shorts on SNL and YouTube videos.  But a whole movie?  That’s the cultural experiment that the new movie Hot Rod ended up being.

Starring Andy Samberg and what has to be 83/100ths of the current Saturday Night Live crowd, Hot Rod is wholly uninspiring.  Isla Fisher stars in the film as well and, although certainly good looking, continues to be an unconvincing actress.  The one shining star is the brief Bill Hader, even funnier than he was in Superbad, but with far less screen time than the only hilarious character in the film deserves.

There’s a proverb to the effect that a good band can’t sing a bad song, that because they’re so good, everything they do will be good by default.  There’s a Hot Rod shaped exception to that rule and this DVD fits right through that hole.  Although every actor and actress in this film is funny, most of the characters are not funny and the movie falters with every step.  The story itself is wholly abysmal at best.

Hot Rod boils down to this – the story stinks.  The plot, the twists, rising action, the climax, the denouement.  It’s all wretched.  But what happens in between the pieces of story – the asides, the quick dialogues, the one-liners – now that’s funny.  But water wings can’t keep an ocean liner afloat and this ship is going down with all hands on deck.

Hot Rod is ice cold from start to finish and on through the special features. 

This DVD is available at

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