Latest buddy movie stars SNL trio

Rod Kimble lives and breathes stunts. He sets up ramps for his moped around his neighborhood, attempting to jump swimming pools and milk trucks. The problem is that the poor guy has no skills as an amateur stuntman.

When Rod’s jerk of a stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane, Deadwood), falls ill and needs a transplant, Rod (Andy Samberg, Saturday Night Live) decides to raise the $50,000 needed to get him a heart-so that he can kick Frank’s ass.

Paramount’s buddy-movie comedy Hot Rod, due in theaters Aug. 3, is a collaboration from the boys of The Lonely Island: the filmmaking trio responsible for the popular SNL Digital Shorts (“D*** in a Box,” “Lazy Sunday”). Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer adapted Pam Brady’s script and shot in Vancouver for 42 days. The film is a tribute of sorts to Rad, a 1986 BMX movie that was “perfectly ’80s and dramatic and epic,” Taccone said.

Stunts are a necessity in a film about a wannabe stuntman, and the audience will not be wanting gruesome tricks. Schaffer, the movie’s director, wanted the stunts to be real and believable, not computer-generated. “We never had done physical comedy to this degree before,” he said. “I’m pretty sure they [the stuntmen] got pretty hurt.”

Leading man Samberg said, “I would cry about other stuff, but definitely not the pain.”

In the film’s final scene, before 1,300-1,400 extras, Rod must jump 15 school buses on his moped. For the crew, the goal was to “try to make it look homemade, and then, at the end, give it away that we had cranes and shit,” said Schaffer. Samberg noted that they wanted the violence to play “somewhere between Jackass and Dodgeball.”

The film’s assorted and talented cast is its greatest asset. Sissy Spacek, best known as the victimized teenager in Stephen King’s Carrie, plays Rod’s mother. “It was kind of like having this awesome mom on set,” said Taccone.

Danny McBride (The Untitled Farrelly Brothers Project) and Bill Hader (SNL, Knocked Up) play the ramp builder and mechanic, respectively. Their characters are stuck in the past, both in wardrobe and in music, and they can be seen dancing in the background. Hader modeled his character on a friend who was slightly off-kilter. “‘I’m in Taiwan now. I tried to buy a porpoise online and the feds are after me,'” said Hader, describing his friend’s interesting life and the basis for his character’s quirkiness.

“You like seeing a hero or a set of characters who are beautifully flawed,” said Samberg.