Scott Marks 9 a.m., Dec. 18
Hit & Run
Any film with a lead character called “Charlie Bronson," whose father, played by Beau Bridges, is named “Clint," and who drives a mint '67 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors had best be an affectionate tribute to '70s drive-in fare. “Bronson” (Dax Shepherd) is a whistle-blowing retired getaway driver enrolled in the witness protection program. Operating under the ever-watchful eye of bumbling U.S. Marshal Tom Arnold, Charlie consents to move back to his former SoCal stomping grounds to help his girlfriend (Kristen Bell, in the Jill Ireland role) get a job. Shepherd and Bell have unmistakable chemistry, particularly during a spirited exchange where she calls him on his substitution of the word “fag” for "lame." Sadly, much of that banter is diffused when screenwriter Shepherd and his co-director David Palmer cast Jess Rowland as a flaming deputy. Bradley Cooper, bringing down the proceedings as a zonked-out Caucasian thug who sports dreadlocks and emulates hip-hop culture and style, gives a bad name to potheads and ethnic stereotypes alike. Calling Hit & Run a cross between Eastwood’s orangutan outings and the demolition derby pyrotechnics of Smokey and the Bandit may sound like faint praise, but at a time when comic books and SNL skits tend to define the summer moviegoing experience, Hit & Run gets back to basics. As such, it is not without its moments worthy of sentimental outpouring. 2012.