Hot Rod

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Short takes

Not suitable under 14; parental guidance to 14 (sex, coarse language, drug use, dangerous stunts)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Hot Rod
  • a review of Hot Rod completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 October 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not suitable due to crude humour and sexual references, coarse language, drug use, and scenes of dangerous stunts.
Children aged 14 Parental guidance recommended due to crude humour and sexual references, coarse language, drug use, and scenes of dangerous stunts.
Children aged 15 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Hot Rod
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate drug reference, Infrequent moderate coarse language
Length: 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) is a would-be stunt man, whose stunts rival those seen on episodes of Jackass but many of his stunts go badly wrong. Rod is desperate to gain the respect of his abusive stepfather Frank (Ian McShane), and regularly engages Frank in fistfights, believing that if he can beat Frank to a pulp he will prove his manhood. However Rod is the one that gets beaten to a pulp by Frank.
Rod is devastated when he learns that Frank is very sick and will die unless he receives a $50,000 heart transplant, which their insurance will not cover. Frank’s death means that Rod will lose all chance of proving his manhood by beating Frank. To save his stepfather, Rod vows to raise the needed money by hiring himself out as a stunt man.
To assist him in money raising venture, Rob puts together a support team consisting of his stepbrother Kevin (Jorma Taccone), friends Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny McBride) and Denise (Isla Fisher), the girl next door on whom Rob has a crush. Initially, Rob performs stunts at children’s parties and company functions. Then, in a moment of inspiration, he conceives the ultimate stunt of jumping fifteen school buses on his moped, one bus better than the legendary Evil Knievel. However, when he is laughed at and ridiculed during a public screening of his stunts, Rod disbands his support team and walks away from his life as a stuntman and any chance of raising the needed funds to save his stepfather’s life.
However, Rod’s life is changed when his filmed exploits become extremely popular on various Internet sites, which leads to him being sponsored by a local radio station.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Abuse by parents, heart transplants, stunt performance

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains many scenes of accidental harm, particularly as a result of stunts, and also frequent slapstick and more brutal violence. Examples include:

  • Rod attempts to ride his moped up a ramp and over a milk truck. His body slams hard into a ramp, hitting his head (he is wearing a helmet). Rod appears to be knocked out for a few seconds and upon wakening vomits onto the ground (we see the actual vomit and hear the sounds of gagging).
  • There is a brutal and vicious fight between Rod and Frank. Frank uses his legs to sweep Rod off of his feet with Rod landing heavily on the floor. Frank hits Rod in the legs with wooden fighting sticks and hits Rod across the back with the sticks. Frank slams Rod into a wall and onto the floor. Frank puts Rod into a headlock and rips off Rod’s fake moustache. There is the sound of bones breaking/cracking and lots of painful moaning and groaning.
  • Rod tells his stepfather, “One day I’ll punch you right in the face then you’ll respect me.” “I want to smash your face in.”
  • Rod tells his stepfather “I’m going to beat you to death” then Rod smashes furniture with a wooden stick.
  • A man deliberately pushes a child into a swimming pool.      
  • Rod falls/tumbles down the side of a hill with his body and head slamming into numerous trees and rocks, he is flung through the air to come crashing down hard on the ground (we hear lots of painful groaning and grunting).
  • Rico talks about a dream where he punches wizards in the face.
  • Dave and Rico forcefully hold Rod under water in a small pool with Rod kicking against their hold. After a while Rod stops kicking and becomes limp. Dave and Rico drag Rod from the pool, but Rod is no longer breathing and Denise gives Rod mouth to mouth resuscitation to get Rod breathing again. When Rod regains consciousness he vomits water into Denise’s face.
  • Rod races down a hill strapped to a skate board and crashes into a parked campervan, Rod is propelled through the van and out the other side, we hear crashing sounds and the sound of glass breaking. A man comes out of a house and threatens Rod, but Rico punches and kicks the man to the ground. Rico empties the contents of a rubbish bin over the man. Rico tells the man that he is “going to bring the devil out of me.”
  • Frank hits Rod in the face with the handle of a walking stick.
  • Rod is hit head-on by a van, the impact propelling him through the air with Rod landing hard on the ground (Rod is wearing large amounts of protective padding).
  • While performing at a children’s party, Rod becomes a human torch when he is engulfed in flames. His crew use fire extinguishers to put the flames out and he appears uninjured.
  • While performing at a party, Rod is pulled from a swimming pool while locked in a drum. When the keys to the lock can not be found, Rico pulls out a gun and shoots the lock off.
  • While performing at a company function, Rod is knocked off his feet and propelled through the air when he is hit in the chest by a swinging washing machine suspended on a rope (Rod appears uninjured).
  • One scene depicts Rod lying on the ground being beaten by children wielding baseball bats. 
  • While performing at a company function, Rod is blown off the top of a tower and propelled through the air when the tower explodes in a ball of flames (Rod appears uninjured).
  • Denise is demonstrating Tai Chi to Rod, and Rod asks Denise to stop showing him the kindy stuff and show him the “crap yourself stuff”, Denise punches Rod repeatedly in the stomach after which Rod walks away awkwardly, his actions inferring that he defecated in his pants.
  • Rod is laughed at and ridiculed during a public screening of his filmed stunts. He becomes upset and aggressive entering the projectionist’s room and hurling the projector through a window (we later see the projector embedded in a car’s windscreen). Rod blames Kevin for him being ridiculed, telling Kevin “Your video made me look like an idiot”, Rod wrestles/tackles Kevin to the ground; police arrive and the fight is stopped.
  • After finding out that he has been lied to by his mother, Rod tears posters off his bedroom wall and stamps on his stunt costumes cape, when he leaves the house he slams the door shut breaking a glass window in the door. 
  • While standing in a street with a shopping trolley full with bottles of alcohol, Rod is hit head on by a van and propelled through the air, the trolley and bottles of alcohol are smashed on the road (Rod appears unhurt).
  • Dave rings Rod and asks Rod to take him to the hospital. When Rod arrives at Dave’s place he finds Dave standing with a piece of metal embedded in his head above his right eye, (Dave appear to be in no pain, and dried blood is shown caked around the wound). A flashback is shown depicting Dave using a grinder, a piece of metal flies off and hits Dave in the face.
  • A man throws a rubbish bin through a shop window and a street riot erupts. People loot and set fires, a car is overturned and bursts into flames, a man lying on the ground is repeatedly kicked by an aggressive and angry mob, riot police holding shields and batons are shown facing an angry mob.
  • While driving a car a man deliberately runs over a raccoon and finds it funny (crunching sounds are heard as the car runs over the raccoon).
  • While attempting to jump his motor bike over fifteen buses, Rod becomes separated from the bike and Rod tumbles and bounces when he lands. He appears to be dead and has an “out of body” experience where he watches a person dressed in a grilled cheese sandwich costume and a person dressed in a taco costume fighting each other. The taco hits the sandwich with a chair knocking the sandwich to the floor, red sauce (blood) oozes out of the sandwich and onto the floor. Rod regains consciousness, and with the assistance of his crew is able to limp from the crash site.
  • Six months after Frank has his heart transplant, Rod challenges Frank to a fight. Frank throws a Chinese star at Rod with the star embedding itself in Rod’s shoulder; Rod pulls the star from his shoulder (we see blood on the star’s blades). Rod punches Frank several times in the face. Rod jumps on Frank, tackles him to the ground and throws him through a wall. Frank jumps on Rod and smashes Rod’s head into a barbecue. Frank’s hand is burned on the barbecue (we hear sounds of sizzling and see steam rising up). Rod hit Frank in the head with a brick and elbows Frank in the face. Rod punches Frank numerous times in the stomach causing Frank to defecate in his pants.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • Scenes of violence between Rod and Frank described above are likely to be particularly disturbing for children.
  • Rod describes his father’s death in detail, describing how motor bike handlebars went through his father’s face with blood going everywhere and that his father’s head exploded and his teeth being ground to powder.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be scared by anything in this film, although some may be concerned about the violence between Rod and Frank.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • In one scene, Rod tells how he is unable to grow a moustache due to a hormone disorder.
  • While talking to Denise, Rod tells her that she looks pretty, but when she asks him to repeat what he said, he tells her that she looks shitty.
  • A man dances in a sexually provocative manner and then asks another man “You like what you see?”  
  • Rico tells Rod and Dave about a strange dream he had telling how in the dream the wives of wizards approached him wanting have sex with him.
  • After Rod was given mouth to mouth resuscitation by Denise, Rod asked Kevin “Did it look like we were making out” Kevin replied “A little”, to which Rod responded with “Awesome”.
  • A man raises his shirt revealing a tattoo picture on his chest of a man simultaneously urinating in two different directions. The man explains to Rod that it is possible to urinate in two directions if some semen residue gets stuck in your urethra after having sex.
  • Kevin shows Rod an image on his computer screen of two dogs mating, Kevin tells Rod that he is collecting the picture for his mother.      
  • A man wears a T-shirt depicting three statements, “charming”, “sexy” and “boring”. Charming and sexy have a tick next to them, while boring has a cross.
  • A man refers to having sex as “Knocking boots.”
  • A woman holds a sign stating “Sleep with me Rod.”
  • When Denise kisses Rod, Dave asks how Rod can kiss his sister; Dave is under the false impression that Denise is Rod’s sister.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity, including

  • Young women wear revealing bikinis at a swimming pool
  • Jonathan kisses Denise passionately on the lips.
  • Denise repeatedly wears low cut tops that display her cleavage.
  • A man dances in a sexually provocative manner repeatedly pumping his body and thrusting his pelvis about with his hands behind head. At one point the man dances close to another man almost touching him.
  • In one scene, Frank is lying on a couch with Kevin lying on top of him. Frank is rubbing his hand up and down Kevin’s back. Kevin stands up and Frank tells Kevin that he loves him. 
  • Rod stares at Denise’s lips while Denise sucks a drink through a straw, the image of Denise’s lips is presented in a sensual manner.     
  • Frank shows Rod a picture he painted of a horse standing behind Rod, no details are shown, but the implication of sexual activity is obvious.
  • A poster is displayed on the wall of Kevin’s bedroom depicting three men bending over looking through their legs with their pants around their ankles. The men are wearing boxer shorts.
  • A man is seen reading a magazine with a cover featuring a woman wearing revealing shorts with the front partially undone and a top that reveals her cleavage and abdomen.
  • In one scene Denise kisses Rod with an open and hungry mouth. Rod reacts in a negative manner, and then kisses Denise back with a closed mouth.
  • A man passionately kisses a woman on the mouth while she is lying across the bonnet of a car and a riot is happening around them.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • In one scene Rod smokes what may be a cannabis cigarette, acting in a rather uninhibited manner afterwards. In the same scene he drinks from a wine bottle.
  • The film contains numerous scenes of Dave and Rico drinking beer from cans.
  • In one scene, a man orders three “Flaming Dr. Peppers”, which consist of a large class of beer into which the man dropped a shot glass of spirit.
  • In one scene a man is depicted drinking from a bottle in a paper bag.
  • One scene depicts Rod in a supermarket with a shopping trolley full of bottles of alcohol.
  • In one scene a man tells Dave that he has some “acid”, but can’t take it and offers the drug to Dave. Images are shown of Dave taking the drug. Later Dave is shown with a head injury, a result of an accident while he was intoxicated. Rod takes Dave to the hospital, and on the way Dave hallucinates, telling Rod that he can see a giant eagle with flames all around it. Rod tells Dave that it’s the drugs. Dave then tells Rod that they just ran over a small bus.

Coarse language

Hot Rod contains crude humour, course language and putdowns throughout. Examples include:

  • Super bad arse; Totem spirit fucks; get the fuck off my porch; kick you’re arse; kick his arse; shit; O shit; holy shit; O my God; getting your dick hole punched; what in the hell; kick those bus’s arses.
  • you’re stupid; I said you look shitty; mountain face; You’re being a tool; you’re a pussy; you suck; idiot; rug rat; pathetic wash-out, moron; you old sack of shit; you’re the devil.

In a nutshell

Hot Rod, full of Jackass styled stunts, is an over-the-top comedy send-up of stunt movies. Older teenagers and adults who were teenagers in the 80’s are likely to find this film entertaining, clever and funny.
The main messages from this movie are:

  • Don’t sell out, but stay true to yourself regardless of what others think
  • The bonds between fathers and their sons are worth maintaining and strengthening.
  • Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include being loyal to friends.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the real-life consequences of:

  • abuse by parents.
  • the dangerous stunts shown.