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With Lorne Michaels and Will Ferrell amongst the filmís producers, HOT ROD ($30) is a decidedly SNL flavored goofball comedy that was originally written for Ferrell to star. As HOT ROD was a little too much like other Ferrell starring vehicles, SNLís Andy Samberg got his shot in the lead role and he acquits himself rather well in the goofy and oftentimes quite funny material. HOT ROD is the story of Rod Kimble (Samberg), who aspires to follow in his deceased fatherís footsteps and become a stuntman in the vein of Evel Knievel. Of course, Rod is a kid who never grew up, and the jackass level stunts that he performs on his moped, inadvertently end in failure.

Although he has the support of his pit crew, which is made up of his longtime friends (who also never grew up), Rod wants to earn the respect of his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane). Of course, the only way Rod can earn Frankís respect is through physical combat, something that he loses to his stepfather on a regular basis. However, when it turns out that Frank is dying and needs a heart transplant, Rod resolves to earn the money himself through stunting, just so he can restore him to health, and have another chance to beat the crap out of Frank. Of course, the road to the required fifty thousand dollars is paved with pitfalls, not the least of which is Rodís lack of stuntman worthy ability. The cast of HOT ROD also features Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, Chris Parnell and Chester Tam.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made HOT ROD available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Letís face it; HOT ROD wasnít made for a whole lot of money, so the 1080p presentation offers an accurate reflection of exactly what this movie should look like. The picture offers up pretty decent levels of image sharpness, dimensionality and detail. Itís not stunning, but it doesnít look bad in any way either. Colors and flesh tones come across in a true to life manner. Blacks and whites appear accurate and stable. Contrast and shadow detail are adequate, but the cinematography wasnít setting anyoneís world on fire anyway, so it all seem totally correct. Blemishes are not a problem. There is some grain, but it too seems an accurate reflection of the filmís intended look.

HOT ROD is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Despite a few slightly more lively moments, HOT ROD sounds like every other dialogue driven comedy. In general, the majority of sonic information is localized to the forward soundstage, while bits of ambience and musical fill are about all that falls to the surround channels. Fidelity is pretty decent in regards the musical component. Voices are cleanly rendered and the dialogue is totally understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Akiva Schaffer and actors Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone. Other extras include the Featurette: Ancestors Protect Me: Behind The Scenes Of Hot Rod (eight minutes), Deleted Scenes, an Outtake Reel, Kevin's Videos (fly on the wall moments) and a Theatrical Trailer.

HOT ROD is goofy good fun that has been given a pretty decent presentation on Blu-ray. If you are a fan, youíll want to kick the tires on HOT ROD.



Hot Rod [Blu-ray] (2007)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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