Let's do the math: Napoleon Dynamite + Jackass = Hot Rod. And if you're one of those who's still watching "Saturday Night Live," many in the cast will leave you feeling like you've caught an extra episode of SNL this week.
Rod is a self-proclaimed stuntman, living in the shadow of his father, who died during a stunt. Rod lives with his mom, step-father Frank, and half-brother Kevin. Rod and Frank fight, physically, as Frank tries to make Rod into less of a wimpy man. Rod is also trying to impress neighbor Denise, who's dating older jerky lawyer guy Jonathan. (There's some vagueness about if they're teens, early 20s, or what; just go with it.)
Rod learns Frank doesn't have long to live, having a bad heart and insurance won't pay for the $50,000 transplant... but everyone has known forever, except Rod. Rod and his crew -- Kevin, Rico, Dave and newly inducted Denise -- set off to do a big stunt, Rod jumping 15 school buses.
Right out of the gate, yes, it's "Jackass" minus the disclaimers. Few would consider the success of jumping a mail truck on a moped, but they go at it, with a steady balance of chuckles in the theatre. But the gags aren't totally inane, though they're hardly cutting edge, either. (And heck, how bad could they have been? Not once did Rod end up in a cast, drawing blood, or anything more painful than a limp.)
Homer Simpson and Jason Bourne they ain't. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The comedy is quirky, as are the characters, the storyline is downright silly, and yet, it works. It's not on the fast-track to a walk down the red carpet in March for an Oscar, but it's fun. The fact that Rod has designed his life around the notion of being a self-taught stuntman, without the benefit of a single stunt ending successfully to date, certainly gives us all hope for pulling off our next adventure.
Would I cut school and play hookey from work to see "Hot Rod?" No. But is it worth not waiting until video? Yup... unless you find physical comedy annoying and sophomoric, but if that were the case, you'd have already stopped reading.