American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
With its off-the-shelf title, I had worked up less than a white-hot enthusiasm to see "Hit & Run," but it's a lot more fun than the title suggests. How many chase comedies have you seen where the hero's sexy girlfriend has a doctorate in nonviolent conflict resolution? Her counseling would have been invaluable to the U.S. marshal (Tom Arnold) in an early scene where he attempts to shoot his own SUV.
There's a lot of funny stuff, but the most unexpected comes from Arnold, who has been uneven, to say the least, in his movies. His marshal, named Randy, works with the Federal Witness Protection program and is assigned to protect a likable guy named, yes, Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard). We meet Charlie in the arms of his sweet girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell); they live in a bucolic northern California town, where she teaches in a local college. She has no idea he's a witness who needs protecting.
Good news brings trouble. Annie gets an interview to start the nation's first nonviolent conflict resolution department at a prestigious Los Angeles university. L.A. is, alas, the last place Charlie wants to go, and the very place where he most needs protection. Annie's boss (Kristin Chenoweth) orders her to go for the interview, because she's too good for her current job. Charlie's love overcomes his fears, and he's determined to drive her to L.A. himself, no matter the risk.
This introduces his slab-sided 1967 Lincoln Continental with a customized 700-hp engine. This classic car is necessary for the same reason all classic cars are used in movies: Most contemporary cars look generic. I learn that Dax Shepard is a car fan and used mostly his own cars in the movie, which is a brave gesture in the name of art, because the movie's vehicles have alarming experiences.