ACTION COMEDY; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper
Risk mismanagement: Shepard and Bell
Charlie Bronson (co-director and writer Shepard, juggling hats with panache) has been in Witness Protection for four years, living a hayseed life after witnessing a crime. With his girlfriend Annie (Bell) in line for the teaching job of a lifetime in LA, it falls to doting Charlie — if that is his real name — to risk driving her there. This doesn’t please his friend-slash-marshal Randy (Tom Arnold), who is in apoplectic and inept pursuit. Also on their tail is Annie’s possessive ex, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum), and a former associate of Charlie’s (Cooper), who has obvious bitter and twisted issues, one of them being his hair.
Annie has a doctorate in conflict resolution. Much good may it do her. As for Charlie, it seems that eluding his past is like attempting to check out of the Hotel California. Shepard’s talky, punchy screenplay sparks off in a burst of mad directions while running a gamut of skewed moods, the constant of which is its caustic savvy. Forget the destination (which looks less likely by the minute). The journey is all kinds of cat–mouse joy.