Hot Rod (film)

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Hot Rod
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Akiva Schaffer
Produced by John Goldwyn
Lorne Michaels
Will Ferrell
Written by
  • Pam Brady
  • Uncredited:
  • Akiva Schaffer
  • Andy Samberg
  • Jorma Taccone
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates August 3, 2007 (2007-08-03)
Running time 88 minutes
Language English
Budget $25.3 million
Box office $14,334,401

Hot Rod is a 2007 American sports comedy film written by Pam Brady (along with The Lonely Island, who were uncredited), executive produced by Will Ferrell and directed by Akiva Schaffer. It stars Andy Samberg, Sissy Spacek, Jorma Taccone, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Ian McShane, Isla Fisher, and Bill Hader. The film was released in the United States on August 3, 2007. It was rated PG-13 in the United States and 12A in the United Kingdom and is The Lonely Island's first feature film.


Throughout his entire life, Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) believed his father, now deceased, was a successful and respectable stuntman working for Evel Knievel. He aspires to follow in his father's footsteps and become a famous stuntman himself. Meanwhile, his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane) fails to respect Rod as a man, often going out of his way to beat him in sparring sessions and mocking his stuntman dream.

Rod makes many attempts at landing jumps with his Tomos moped, most of them ending unsuccessfully. In fact, the movie starts with Rod jumping a milk truck, although it was unsuccessful. After an ill-fated jump attempt at the public pool, he returns home to find out that Frank is in urgent need of a heart transplant. Angry at the thought of his stepfather dying without getting a chance to "smash his face in" and gain his respect, Rod goes to a forest to be mad and starts dancing out of rage (a sequence loosely based on the movie Footloose), ending up with Rod rolling down an enormous hill after tripping. At the bottom of the hill, he sees a sign that gives him an idea to save Frank. He tells his childhood friends Rico (Danny McBride), Dave (Bill Hader) and his half-brother Kevin (Jorma Taccone) about his plan to do a jump over the length of fifteen school buses, and give the proceeds to his stepfather's surgery. He also adds Denise (Isla Fisher), his college-graduate neighbor on whom he has a crush, to his crew.

To promote his stunt and also raise funds, Rod works parties, corporate get togethers, and other events, performing activities such as taping pillows to his body and having a washing machine, suspended by a crane, swing to hit him. Kevin releases a movie using his footage of Rod's stunts and sells over 200 tickets, but everyone at the movie laughs at Rod's expense because the film depicts his failed training attempts. Rod gets angry and throws the theater's projector out of a window, smashing the projectionist's car below. Rod ends up giving up all the money he has raised so far to the projectionist to cover the damages and avoid arrest. Upset, he returns home, where his mother reveals to him that his father was not the stuntman he thought he was. Humiliated, Rod quits the crew and ends his dream to beat up his stepfather, despite his friends' interventions. However, he takes up the jump again when Dave asks Rod to take him to the hospital due to an injury while "trippin' balls" under the influence of acid given to him by his friend Derek (Akiva Schaffer). When he does, Dave gives him advice that inspires Rod to apologize to Kevin. As Kevin accepts his apology, he also reveals that Rod's stunt footage has gotten popular through the Internet, and a local AM radio station hosted by Barry Pasternak (Chris Parnell) offers to cover the expenses of the jump.

Rod gets the crew back together and they start setting up for the jump. On the day of the jump, his friends give him a new suit, a rock (to represent extensive pyrotechnic work done by Rico), and a motorbike. He also receives a kiss from Denise, who broke up with Jonathan (Will Arnett), her insensitive and callous boyfriend. As Rod jumps off the ramp, the speed of his new motorbike enables him to jump over the buses, but as he gives his friends a thumbs up, they realize that he had let go of his bike in the process. The bike smashes through a stage and Rod's body slams against the ground, sliding and skidding before he finally stops. As his friends nurse him from his unconscious state, he has a 'freaky, out of body experience' in which he witnesses an anthropomorphic taco beating up a grilled cheese sandwich—a topic he and Denise had a debate over earlier in the movie. Rod, with the help of Kevin and Denise, triumphantly gets up to the applause of the crowd, and sees that the donations have accumulated over $50,000, the cost of Frank's 'conveniently priced' surgery. The film ends as Rod (with his own moustache) again spars with Frank. Over the course of the fight, Rod gains the upper hand and succeeds in making his stepfather respect him (then makes him defecate in his pants using a tai-chi move that Denise taught him).


Development and filming[edit]

Will Ferrell and Jimmy Miller worked on the script along with Pam Brady with Ferrell as the lead (Miller remains uncredited, but has produced several of Ferrell's films). When Andy Samberg signed on, the film was rewritten by Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and director Akiva Schaffer. According to Schaffer: "We definitely put our own stamp on it. We had to make it feel like it was ours... so you assume a little bit of ownership."

Shooting locations for the film include Cloverdale in Surrey, British Columbia, and under the Surrey end of the Pattullo Bridge, just southeast of Vancouver. Other locations in British Columbia include Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Burnaby and Downtown Vancouver.

The film includes one brief shot from Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. The shot appears on Kevin's computer before he shows Rod his stunt movie and features two dogs having intercourse.

Critical reception[edit]

Hot Rod received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 40% based on 105 reviews. The site's conseanus reads: "A few funny scenes can't save the disjointed Hot Rod, which is too silly and sloppy to hold up." On Metacritic the film had a rating of 43 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On IMDb the film has a rating of 6.7/10 from 48,755 users.[1]

In recent times the film has taken on a cult status among comedy fans due to its charm and offbeat humour.[2]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #9 at the U.S. box office in 2007 and grossed $5.3 million in its opening weekend. Overall, it bombed in theaters, leaving after 68 days and having grossed just under $14 million in its entire run.[3]

Home release[edit]

Hot Rod was released on Region One DVD and HD DVD on November 27, 2007, and in Region Two in January 2008. It made $24 million on DVD rentals in the United States—46% over its box office gross. It was released on Blu-ray Disc December 16, 2008, but the disc went out-of-print less than a year later on October 11, 2009.[4] The DVD remains in print.


Hot Rod
Soundtrack album by Various
Released July 31, 2007
Genre Soundtrack
Label Sony Legacy
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[5]

The soundtrack was composed by ex-Yes guitarist, Trevor Rabin. Several songs by the Swedish rock band Europe are in the movie, including "Cherokee" and "Rock the Night." The trailer contains three Swedish rock songs, Europe's "Cherokee" and "The Final Countdown," and The Hives' "See Through Head." It also includes the UK rock band, Test Icicles' "Circle. Square. Triangle," as well as American Hi-Fi's "The Art of Losing." The band called Gown that plays at Rod's final jump is actually Queens of the Stone Age.


  1. "Danger on the Track" – Europe
  2. "A Gringo Like Me" – Ennio Morricone
  3. "Never" – Moving Pictures
  4. "Two of Hearts" – Stacey Q
  5. "Cherokee" – Europe
  6. "Skulls" – The Nutley Brass (Written by Glenn Danzig)
  7. "Street Luge" – Trevor Rabin
  8. "You're the Voice" – John Farnham
  9. "Head Honcho" – Gown
  10. "Chase"Giorgio Moroder
  11. "Cool Beans" – Jorma Taccone & Andy Samberg
  12. "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" – Cutting Crew
  13. "Dave on Acid" – Trevor Rabin
  14. "Rock the Night" – Europe
  15. "Stunt Suite" – Trevor Rabin
  16. "Time Has Come" – Europe
  17. "The Real Bass" – Brooklyn Bounce


  1. ^ "Hot Rod (2007)". Retrieved 22013-09-02. 
  2. ^ Tobias, Scott (2012-08-16). "Lonely Island’s Hot Rod is strangely funny (and often just strange) | Film | The New Cult Canon". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Movie Hot Rod – Box Office Data, News, Cast Information – The Numbers". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  4. ^ "DVDTalk Forum : Out-of-Print Titles (recently discovered)". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  5. ^ Review by Mark Deming (2007-07-31). "Hot Rod [Original Soundtrack] – Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]