An offbeat rom-com that ventures down the film-noir path, “Hit by Lightning” manages to make dark comedy fresh by combining two formulas.
Jon Cryer of “Two and a Half Men” stars as Ricky, a loveless manager of a Denny’s-esque chain restaurant. Unexpectedly, he finally finds his soul mate after signing up for EHappily.com, much to the dismay of his codependent bromantic wingman, Seth (Will Sasso). The catch is, love interest Danita (Stephanie Szostak) has a husband whom she’d very much like Ricky to murder.
Ricky and Seth recognize the classic femme-fatale narrative from “Body Heat,” but that’s not enough to deter them from the murder plot. What does give Ricky second thoughts is that Danita’s cuckold (Jed Rees) happens to be a bestselling writer who can potentially help Ricky — an aspiring author — reach his unrealized goal.
Cryer and Sasso have impeccable comedic call and response that never skip a beat, which makes the film a pleasure. But the deadpan humor from writer-director Ricky Blitt might have played better in a sitcom, because the film could almost benefit from a laugh track. For those who’ve grown accustomed to the Judd Apatow school of raunchy slapstick, “Hit by Lightning” may seem too subdued.
“Hit by Lightning”
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s NoHo 7, North Hollywood. Also on VOD.