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Review

'Hits' slams into ugly slurs

The strong ensemble in the satire 'Hits' works well until the film stumbles into unnecessary slurs

The ensemble satire "Hits" takes aim at fame, viral videos, small-town dreamers, Brooklyn hipsters, white rappers, Zipcars and other zeitgeisty topics. And for much of the film's trimmable running time, writer-director David Cross amuses with pointed observations, recognizable character types and potentially loaded situations.

Unfortunately, by the end, thanks to a misguided use of a few offensive slurs against gays and African Americans, the whole thing turns needlessly ugly, undermining the goodwill Cross had mustered.

Set and shot mainly in the aptly named, upstate New York berg of Liberty, the movie follows the intersection of two darkly comic story lines. The first involves Dave (Matt Walsh), an angry townie fed up with his dismissive local leaders. He becomes a YouTube sensation when a loopy Brooklyn collective makes him their latest cause. Then there's the tale of Dave's pretty but deluded daughter, Katelyn (Meredith Hagner), a celebrity hopeful and would-be singer who's desperate to appear on TV's "The Voice."

Cross, perhaps best known for playing Tobias Fünke on "Arrested Development," nicely builds and complicates both plot strands to show how celebrity can make people crazy — if they weren't a little crazy to begin with. He gets a strong assist from his capable cast, which includes Amy Sedaris, James Adomian, Jason Ritter, Wyatt Cenac, David Koechner and Erinn Hayes.

It's just too bad Cross didn't find a smarter way to conclude the mayhem. He clearly had the ability to do so.

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"Hits."

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Playing: Sundance Sunset, Los Angeles. Also on VOD.

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