This past week the wonderful (and woefully under appreciated, until quite recently) “Hot Rod” celebrated the 10th anniversary of its release. It follows the totally normal story of Rod Kimble and his mission to do dope stunts and raise enough money for his step-dad’s heart surgery…so he can finally defeat him in their regular wrestling matches, of course. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and it’s crazy to think that its been 10 years since it first came out.
I ended up happening upon it a year or so after its release when my mother brought it home for me from Blockbuster (RIP Blockbuster, the best place ever), saying “I saw this and it looked like something you might like.” Luckily, she was right and I spread it amongst my friends like wildfire, so that when I said “cool beans” in weird voice they wouldn’t look at me like I was an insane person.
My experience with discovering “Hot Rod” and falling in love with it seems to be the way many of its most ardent fans found it. When it was first released 10 years ago, it didn’t receive the most positive of responses from critics and viewers alike. It was, in a way, ahead of its time. Starring Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, among others, and directed by Akiva Shaffer, it was basically a Lonely Island movie before The Lonely Island was even a thing (or, at least, a thing people knew about).
Much like the best Lonely Island songs and sketches, what set “Hot Rod” apart from the other bro-y comedies it might be grouped in with was that it took already funny premises and pushed them to the most absurd extremes. Take, for example, the scene above. It starts out as a somewhat stereotypical scene from an inspirational sports movie, with the whole town rallying behind one man. It quickly evolves into a musical and then devolves into a riot. The absurdity of it all isn’t lost on the characters, who immediately call out how crazy it was. It’s executed so well, equal parts clever and silly.
While many comedies now are big and brash with their jokes, they don’t necessarily do it well. “Hot Rod” had those big and brash qualities, but it didn’t feel like any of it was forced. It all felt natural and right for the characters, their personalities and their situation, which is probably why so many people have gravitated toward the movie in recent years.
If you have somehow missed out on the joy that is “Hot Rod” in the last 10 years, what are you doing? Go watch it! NOW. Seriously, whatever you were doing before you started reading this can wait. You’ll be happy you did. I know I was.
Have you seen “Hot Rod”? Have any other under appreciated comedies that you love? Still mad that “Pitch” got cancelled? Me too. Why, Fox, why????? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Cool beans? Cool beans. And, of course…