Suburbia, USA. Neighbours have spilled out on to their front lawns to witness wannabe stuntman Rod Kimble’s feeble attempt to jump a camper van – on a clunky moped! The gangly teenage dork (Andy Samberg) has been performing dodgy stunts of this nature ever since his mother (Sissy Spacek) misguidedly told him that his late father was stunt-meister Evel Knievel’s personal test rider. Rod’s desperate to emulate their antics, if only to show his macho, bullying stepfather Frank (Ian McShane) that he’s not the wimp he’s constantly accused of being. When his cash-strapped stepdad is suddenly faced with an expensive medical situation, Rod seizes the moment to prove his worth by arranging a series of hilariously inept fundraising events. Like 99 per cent of ‘X-Factor’ contestants, the lad clearly has ideas way above his station. Yet no one has the heart to tell him, least of all his two closest buddies and pretty girl next door, Denise (Isla Fisher).
This ‘Saturday Night Live’ offshoot is one of the most laugh-out-loud movies I’ve seen in a long while. While the story itself is pretty conventional, the structure certainly isn’t. In fact, it’s almost as if director Akiva Schaffer and fellow members of the SNL team had a series of physical comedy sketches knocking about and simply created a plot to link them all together. Cartoon elements abound, not least when the camera jump-cuts to the priceless spectacle of Rod tumbling down an interminably long hill. It’s deliciously deadpan, too, as so ably demonstrated by SNL regular Andy Samberg’s eminently likeable performance as the titular twit. Silly stuff to be sure, but soooo entertaining.