Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) decides he is going to help his step father, whose respect he wants by beating him up, by setting a new world record for jumping busses on his scooter. You see Rod wants to be a famous stuntman and he believes his real dad was Evel Knievel's back up man. In order to help his step father Rod must first set about raising the money to hire the busses but Rod finds himself a bit distracted by the return of Denise (Isla Fisher), the girl next door who he has always been secretly sweet on.
Should you laugh at people or with them? I have always found it uneasy when an entire movie is built around laughing at the central character because he is a delusional tool rather than laughing with him for knowing he is an accident prone fool. That is my trouble with "Hot Rod" because the entire movie is built around the delusional Rod thinking he is a stunt man and then watching him getting things badly wrong time and again with one accident after another. Basically it is a moron doing moronic things for moronic reasons and it ends up simply moronic.
Now maybe 20 years ago I would have found "Hot Rod" entertaining as I remember doing things and thinking they were funny which when I think about them now I think what a moron I was. But looking back at the movies I watched 20 years ago they had some things which "Hot Rod" doesn't have from a range of likeable characters to a storyline which actually drives the movie. Instead what "Hot Rod" has and in fact ends up like is a lot of set piece gags surrounding moronic stunts and Andy Samberg, yes there are other actors but this ends up being a showcase for Samberg.
What this all boils down to is that "Hot Rod" didn't do it for me because it is a movie where we are lead to laugh at a moron doing moronic things which whilst maybe once being funny now ends up simply moronic.