Follow TV Tropes


Film / Hot Rod

Go To

Hot Rod is The Lonely Island's first venture into feature films, released in 2007 and starring Andy Samberg (as Rod) and Jorma Taccone (as Kevin), with Akiva Schaffer directing.

Wannabe stuntman Rod is desperate to follow in the footsteps of his late father and also win the respect and love of his mean Step-Father, Frank (Ian McShane), by defeating him in a fight and proving himself a man. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes and Frank is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition. The operation needed is too expensive, so Rod and his gang set out to raise the money by performing the greatest jump he has ever attempted to save Frank's life, so he can finally kick his ass when he's better.

Tropes too dumb to live, like the characters of Hot Rod:

  • '80s Hair: Rod, Kevin, and Dave sport this type of hair.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Coming-Of-Age Stories from the 80s by emphasizing the escapist Manchild aspects of those films to the point of ridiculousness but still playing them beat-for-beat.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Jonathan is seen reading a muscle fitness magazine at one point and seems to care more about his best friend Sullivan than Denise.
    • Richardson is a massive fanboy of Rod's, to the point of being absolutely giddy when Rod shows that he knows Richardson's name. He also gets very up close and personal with some of his dance moves around Dave and Rico.
  • Amusing Injuries: This movie is very slapstick.
  • Angry Dance: After learning of Frank's heart condition, Rod goes to the forest to dance angrily, parodying the scene from Footloose.
  • Animal Battle Aura: Rod will call upon a random animal spirit whenever he does a jump.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Rod randomly asks Denise who would win a fight between a grilled-cheese sandwich and a taco. She says the taco, but only because it would fight dirty. When Rod "dies" after his big jump, he has an Imagine Spot where a giant taco beats a giant grilled-cheese sandwich after whacking it with a steel chair.
    • Rod unsuccessfully attempts to use a move he calls the "Ultimate Punch" during his first fight with Frank which consists of him kicking awkwardly while holding his fists in front of him. He uses it again during their final battle, and this time actually manages to land it. Notably, he doesn't call it out by name the second time.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Doubles up as a Chekhov's Skill.
  • Calling Your Attacks
    Rod: ULTIMATE PUNCH! [proceeds to throw a weak-looking kick with both arms extended and is effortlessly parried by Frank]
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rod asks Denise if there's a tai chi move that can make a man lose control of his bowels. He then goads her into displaying it on him. Rod then uses it on his stepdad in the film's climax.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: While a sizable chunk of the cast could arguably qualify, Dave takes the cake. He's totally okay with taking someone else's acid during work and then decides that it would be a good idea to use his bench grinder while tripping. He doesn't react at all when he ends up getting a piece of metal lodged into his eye.
  • Circle of Shame: When Rod's movie is shown at the theater and he realizes everyone's laughing at how incompetent he looks.
  • Creator Cameo: Akiva Schaffer shows up for a moment as Dave's acid-dealing friend Derek.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Rod's story of how his stuntman father died includes his teeth being ground to dust, handlebars going through his head, and his face exploding out the back of his skull, ending with Rod's father dying "instantly... the next day". The reality was far less gruesome; he choked to death on some pie in a pie-eating contest.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Pretty much the whole reason why Rod and Frank fight each other.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Rod's hero was his deceased dad, who he believed was a former stuntman for Evel Knievel, dying when he broke away to do his own stunts but the trick went wrong. Years later his mother admits to him that she had just let Rod believe his fantasies of his dad being a stuntman, and in reality, his dad had choked on a pie.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Rod, during his Heroic BSoD; he fills an entire shopping cart with nothing but booze.
  • Evil Is Petty: Frank would happily die just to spite Rod and make sure he'll never get his approval.
  • Eye Scream: When Dave drops Acid, he gets into a welding accident where a piece of metal flies into his eye. Also doubles as a Major Injury Underreaction.
  • Fanboy: Rod idolizes Evel Knievel.
  • Fake Special Attack: The "Ultimate Punch", which Rod doesn't even use his hands to execute (it's a kick that has both his arms extended forward, and the kick sucks). The final battle reveals that when it actually lands it has enough strength to send its victim flying.
  • Finishing Move: After Rod finally beats Frank in the fight at the end of the movie and gets him to admit that he is a man, Rod decides to use the "Crap yourself" move for shits and giggles.
  • Five-Man Band: Rod's stunt team fits into this setup neatly once Denise joins up:
    • The Leader: Rod; the protagonist and stuntman.
    • The Lancer: Kevin; Rod's younger half-brother and manager. Being Rod's brother, he's the closest to him out of the group but also contrasts him at times by being slightly more rational and mature.
    • The Big Guy: Rico; Rod's ramp builder. Along with having a role on the team relating to hands-on construction, he's a bulky hothead who isn't afraid to throw a punch.
    • The Smart Guy: Dave; Rod's mechanic. While a major space case, he's shown to be genuinely competent at his role on the team (which is more than Rod can say) and has occasional flashes of philosophical depth.
    • The Heart: Denise; Rod's Love Interest and the group's sole female member. She brings out the best in Rod and is the catalyst for him awakening to what little maturity he has over the course of the movie. Also qualifies as The Sixth Ranger, as she is recruited early on in the plot whereas the other four are already on the team from the start.
    • The Sixth Ranger: Richardson; The Team Wannabe. While ordinarily ignored by the group, they end up recruiting him to help pass out flyers to promote Rod's stunts and he gets his own reaction shot alongside the others during Rod's near-death experience.
  • Foreshadowing: In Rod's picture of his father and Even Knievel, Rod's dad is wearing a shirt with a patch that says "Al's Tires"; as his mother later admits, Rod's father wasn't a stuntman, but a cashier at a tire shop.
  • Girl Next Door: Denise is a literal version of this trope.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rod, after having to give away all of the money in the funds he'd raised for the jump and finding out that his father wasn't a stuntman who died a glorious (if gruesome) death in a stunt gone wrong, but a tire store cashier who choked to death on some pie. He starts acting like an adult and buying many bottles of alcohol.
  • Hot-Blooded: Rico.
    Rico: "I'm freaking pumped! I been drinkin' green tea all goddamn day!
    Rico: (seconds after saying the above line) "God, I go to Church every goddamn Sunday! You gonna bring the demons outta me!?"
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Rod's reaction to finding out that Frank is dying because he wants to fight him.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When Rod introduces Denise to his crew, each one of them keeps copying his "My name is [name], and I like to party" line. After a bit of back and forth, Rod finishes with this outburst:
    Rod: Oh my God, shut up! Okay, I'm just gonna do it for you. Denise, this is the crew. Dave's the mechanic, Rico makes the ramps, and Kevin is team manager slash videographer. None of them party, right? Got it? Okay. Let's party."
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Rod survives numerous falls and injuries that would outright kill or permanently cripple most people, and his tenacity is second to none, but virtually nothing goes right for him for a majority of the film.
  • Jerkass:
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A rare mutual case: Frank is a major dick to Rod, but his opinion that Rod is a temperamental manchild, an idiot, and a terrible stuntman isn't far from the truth... but given how Frank treats him, Rod's not exactly unjustified in disliking him.
  • Kick the Dog: After Rod finally gets his stepfather to admit defeat, he throws in a Finishing Move anyways.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge: A failed attempt by Rod when he suddenly backtracks on his brief moment of having enough nerve to compliment Denise. Instead of replacing it with something benign, he replaces it with something much worse:
    Rod: "You look pretty."
    Denise: "What?"
    Rod: "Uh, I said you look shitty."
  • Like Father, Like Son: Rod's father was also a stuntman (except not really) and determined to the point of life-threatening stupidity, as demonstrated by his horrible death in a stunt gone wrong and his actual death by choking on pie when he ate too fast to win a pie-eating contest.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Dave acts like getting a shard of metal lodged in his eye is a minor inconvenience. Possibly justified due to him being high out of his mind when it happens, but considering what we see of him while he's lucid, that may just be the kind of guy he is.
  • Manchild: Rod's entire friend group qualifies, being men nearing thirty who wander around their cul-de-sac like a group of preteen boys. Dave is at least shown to have a job; the other three don't seem to do anything outside of their "stunt" coordination.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Rod wears a fake moustache when performing stunts in order to make himself manlier. He claims to have some kind of hormonal imbalance that prevents him from growing a real one, but at the end of the movie he's starting to grow one for real anyway.
  • Made of Iron: Rod, despite the many accidents he's involved in, never receives any long-lasting injuries. Subverted at the end when he "dies"... but even that, he ends up walking off, despite thinking he has "ten to twenty" broken bones.
  • Man on Fire: Happens to Rod when he's performing for a kid's birthday party to raise money.
  • Mood Whiplash: The awesome music that turns into a mass riot.
    Dave: It started off super positive, then it just got crazy.
  • Motive Rant: Whenever Rod has a mic he will start ranting about how much he wants to kill Frank.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Rico delivers one to a guy who (rightfully) harasses the stunt crew after Rod crashes into his trailer. The rest of the group has to step in once he starts dumping trash over the poor guy.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Averted with Dave. He has to leave for work while Rod is explaining his plan so Rod and the guys just join him and explain his plan while Dave works.
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    • Just how high WAS that hill that Rod tumbled down?
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The reason why Rod wants to give Frank a new heart is so he can rip it out of him. Yes, he says this a lot.
  • Power Walk: An exaggerated version of this, set to John Farnham's "You're The Voice." Starts off pretty normal with the main cast doing it, and winds up with half the town following them and a mass riot breaking out. With bagpipes blaring in the background.
  • Precision F-Strike: It wouldn't be The Lonely Island without at least one f-bomb. Although in this case, it's not said by one of the dudes, but by a woman who tells Rod, "get the fuck off my porch".
  • Recycled Premise: This movie and Dirty Work share the same central plot: an unsuccessful loser has to raise $50,000 for his cranky ex-boxer father to have a heart transplant.
  • Retro Universe: It looks and feels like it's set in the 1980s, so much so that were it not for the presence of a handful of 2000s elements, you might mistake it for a period piece.
  • Rule of Funny: Fueled by it in raw, unfiltered form. There is a bounty of nonsensical, weird, and non-sequitur scenes in the movie but you'll never question them because you'll be laughing too hard.
  • Shout-Out: Rod's dance contains many of the same moves from Footloose.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Rod's in-universe stunts. When he does a movie showing, the audience cheers for all the wrong reasons.
  • The Team Wannabe: Richardson desperately wants to be part of Rod's stunt crew but is constantly rejected due to having no skills outside of doing a strange dance. He won't take no for an answer and performs this dance whenever the crew is nearby to convince them of his worth. The crew's evaluation of him is shown to be completely accurate on the one occasion when they do allow him to help out, as he fails to do anything to meaningfully contribute to the simple task they're attempting to accomplish and instead just continues dancing around.
  • Two Decades Behind: This movie has such a 1980's feel to it that many people believe it to be set in that decade, despite Kevin, for example, carrying around a digital camera and uploading Rod's stunts online.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Frank continues to mock and insult Rod even after Rod takes it upon himself to raise the money for Frank's life-saving surgery (admittedly, so that he can beat Frank in a fight while he's healthy).
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Rod, to hilariously insane levels.
  • You Say Tomato: Rod tells his crew that his safety word is "hwiskey". Kevin wants to know why he's pronouncing "whiskey" so weirdly, which leads to Rod pronouncing a string of words starting with 'wh' (and some that just start with 'w') in the same way until Kevin gives up. According to the creators, this was inspired by a skit on Gang Starr's album Moment of Truth.