First and foremost, let me address the fact that there are people out there who dislike Andy Samberg. I know this, and that’s fine. There are also people out there who don’t like bacon, but it doesn’t mean that they’re right. What you need to understand is, Samberg’s performance as Hot Rod is perfect. He is the only one who could have pulled it off.
Secondly, though this movie may want to appear mindless, know that is just a flashy fishing lure to get people to sit down. Underneath its bravado is a movie with a lot of heart. I know you are waiting for a punch line to follow that up, but I am being serious.
Hot Rod is about a young man named Rod who wants nothing more than to be a daredevil. The problem is, he sucks, and he keeps company with some guys who we will kindly say, are not the brightest bulbs. So yes, in essence, if Samberg’s man-child persona bothers you, this is where he mastered it. There is where they ALL mastered it. So something like Jizz In My Pants, which went on to make these guys famous, has its comedy roots in this great film.
On one hand, you have Rod. Young and ambitious, he doesn’t to see any of his failures as setbacks, and even though he may be mildy retarded, there is a charm to that passion. The real story beneath all the jokes and great cameos and musical numbers (yes, all those things happen) is that Rod just wants to impress his stepdad (played by the ever-fucking-awesome Ian McShane) who is pretty much the most alpha man alive, and constantly calls out Rod for the pansy he is. Then we find out that Rod’s stepdad is in need of a heart transplant, and if he doesn’t get it, he will die.
Rod has an idea to hold an epic stunt spectacle so that he can buy his stepdad a new heart, just so he can wrestle him and whoop his ass to prove himself. So, in essence, he wants to get his stepdad better so he can hurt him even worse. It’s bloody brilliant, and the scenes between McShane and Samberg may be some of my favorite father/son moments ever put on film.