Hot Rod appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie boasted a consistently strong transfer.
Sharpness always looked good. Even in wide shots, the flick displayed solid delineation and accuracy. No problems with softness marred this concise presentation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I also noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws remained absent in this clean image.
Rod went with a natural palette that fared well. The colors were clear and vivid at all times, as the tones showed nice reproduction. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows demonstrated fine delineation. Overall, the transfer was very pleasing.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Hot Rod, it seemed pretty lackluster. There wasn’t much to the soundfield. Some of the stunts opened things up reasonably well – such as when Rod got blasted off a tower – but usually the audio remained restrained. Music showed decent stereo delineation, and effects displayed a reasonable sense of setting. The surrounds reinforced these elements and added decent life to some of the action sequences, but the back speakers stayed subdued most of the time.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Music appeared a little restricted but usually offered decent clarity. Effects fell into the same realm, as they were clean and accurate but lacked much of a punch. All of this was good enough for a “B-“, but don’t expect to be impressed.
The disc comes with a decent complement of supplements. We find an audio commentary from director Akiva Schaffer and actors Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss some production details, but usually they prefer just to kid around with each other and mock the whole process.
Even when we hear notes about the production – usually from Schaffer – it becomes tough to care. For one, the guys throw out enough “fake facts” that it gets difficult to know the lies from the truth. Even the film observations that occur tend to be banal, so that turns into another obstacle.
However, the tone remains the biggest weakness of this track. It often feels like 90 minutes of sarcasm and inside jokes. If you dig the humor of Hot Rod, you’ll probably have a blast with the commentary; you’ll likely think the participants’ wacky shenanigans are a hoot. If you’re not totally enamored with the flick, though, it becomes a real chore to listen to this tedious piece.
A featurette called Ancestors Protect Me: Behind the Scenes of Hot Rod runs seven minutes, 57 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, and actors Isla Fisher and Bill Hader. “Ancestors” bears a strong resemblance to the commentary in that it mostly consists of wisecracks and insults. What do we learn from this piece? That Samberg thinks it’s hilarious to constantly tell people on the set to “lose the shirt” and that Taccone loves to run around bottomless. This featurette may be more annoying and pointless than the commentary, though at least it’s shorter.
15 Deleted and Extended Scenes last a total of 14 minutes, 39 seconds. These include “Opening Credits Biker” (0:38), “Rod Shuts Front Door on Kevin” (1:19), “Rod Meets Denise” (0:44), “Rod and the Lamps” (0:41), “Rico High Fives” (0:23), “Rico and Dave Converse” (0:55), “Kevin and Rico Shotgun Beers” (1:24), “Family Dinner” (1:04), “Playing with Toys” (2:12), “Double Date” (0:52), “Rod and Kevin at the Screening” (0:35), “Rod Impresses Goth Kids” (1:00), “Rico Hits on a Lady” (0:51), “Barry Pasternack” (1:01) and “Kevin Sings Karaoke” (0:58). We get material very similar to the footage in the final flick, so if the film amused you, I expect you’ll enjoy these clips. If not, it seems unlikely anything here will change your mind – it didn’t have a positive effect on me.
We can watch these scenes with or without commentary from Schaffer, Samberg and Taccone. When I listen to this sort of discussion, I mostly want to learn why the clips didn't make the final cut. Schaffer alludes to this on occasion, but the guys usually just giggle and talk about how much they like the sequences. The commentary isn’t as joke-heavy as the main track, but it doesn’t add much.
An Outtakes Reel goes for three minutes, 32 seconds. I figured this would be a blooper collection, but it actually lives up to its title and provides little snippets too short to be considered deleted scenes. Whether they’re amusing will be up to you to decide, of course, but I was happy I didn’t have to sit through the usual goofs.
Kevin’s Videos splits into eight short clips. All together, they go for a total of four minutes, 23 seconds. These let us see the Rod videos created for the film in their entirety. That makes them a neat little extra.
Next comes the one-minute and 58-second Punch-Dance. It gives us comments from Samberg and shows a side-by-side comparison between that Rod sequence and the Footloose scene that inspired it. This may not sound like much, but it might actually be the coolest extra on the DVD.
After this we find Home Video Footage of Orchestra Recording Session. The one-minute and 28-second snippet depicts what the title implies: shots of an orchestra as they record the movie’s score. It comes without any comments or information, which makes it pretty pointless.
A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Drillbit Taylor and Stardust. These also appear in the Previews area along with a clip for The Will Ferrell Collection. In addition, the DVD includes the theatrical trailer for Rod.
Will Ferrell movies can be hit or miss, so a Will Ferrell movie that stars someone else becomes an even iffier prospect. Andy Samberg does his best Ferrell impersonation and flops miserably in Hot Rod, a comedy with nary a laugh to be found. The DVD offers excellent visuals along with decent audio and extras. This is a more than competent disc, but the movie itself stinks.