Hit and Runway

Alex has a great idea for a screenplay. It's about a cop who goes undercover at a beauty pageant. What he doesn't realize is that his script is horrible. What writer/director Christopher Livingston and co-writer Jaffe Cohen would never expect is that an actual crappy movie with the same premise, Miss Congeniality, would come out months before their movie did. Hit and Runway is Alex's (Michael Parducci, Gravesend) movie, a typical no-brainer action movie where the gun-toting studly hero gets the buxom woman. When his script actually has a chance at production, Alex realizes he needs help fleshing out his idea and finishing his script.

Hit and Runway is an amusing riff on the Odd Couple formula. Alex is a stereotypical manly man. He stumbles upon Elliot (Peter Jacobson, Looking for an Echo, Cradle Will Rock), a short Jewish playwright, neurotic in a very Woody Allen way. Oh, and Elliot is gay. He only agrees to collaborate with Alex after realizing Alex works in a cafe with Joey (Kerr Smith, Forsaken, The Broken Hearts Club), the cute man he is currently lusting after. Needless to say, it is not an easy collaboration. Elliot is deathly afraid of selling out to Hollywood. He wants to make a movie he is proud of, not something that will make money. The nice thing about this movie is that it allows people to have a glimpse of the creative process. Two very different people come together to attempt to make something they are both proud of.

Ironically, both are writing from their hearts. Alex is longing for the macho persona he wishes he could be. This movie is his fantasy, with him playing the protagonist. Elliot insists that the movie be true-to-life. He believes that one's experiences lay the foundation for every character in the movie. Elliot begins rewriting the characters into his view of himself. Instead of the protagonist bedding the beautiful model, he falls for the girl-next door type. The protagonist does not realize how beautiful she is until she removes her glasses. Of course, Alex finds this ridiculous. Hit and Runway shines when Alex and Elliot start incorporating their real experiences into their screenplay. Along the way, the two unwittingly become friends.

As Hit and Runway nears its conclusion, the story becomes increasingly bizarre and poignant. For the most part, Livingston is able to pull off this dichotomy successfully. Production value is modest, but looking great is not the point of the film. The best moments come out in the interaction between Alex and Elliot. Elliot has a witty, sarcastic comeback for everything Alex says to him. The production value actually manages to help with Alex's imagination of what Hit and Runway would look like, a cheesy B-movie. There is some potentially negative gay stereotyping, but it is because of Alex's ignorance or done in good fun by Elliot.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 41 minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content, and some violent images.

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