Jon Cryer is, for all intensive purposes, a pretty funny guy. His character Duckie in the 1986 John Hughes classic Pretty in Pink coupled with his long-running role as Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men are the man’s most notable works. He always plays nerdy and naïve sidekicks who sadly don’t always get what they want (especially the girl). Cryer continues to play this type of role in the small yet charming dark comedy Hit by Lightning, a Canadian export that actually borrows heavily from other films before it. That being said, it isn’t terrible. It just has an overall average quality about it.
Hit by Lightning focuses on lovable loser Ricky (Cryer), a dorky restaurant manager in his 40s looking for love in all the wrong places. He eventually strikes up an online romance with Danita (Stephanie Szostak), a gorgeous dork in her own right. They hit it off immediately and even go to bed but Danita has one “small” favor for Ricky: to kill her husband. This then obviously puts Ricky into a precarious situation, leaving him to question love and his most basic morals.
With a premise described by Cryer as “a mixture of Body Heat meets The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, Hit by Lightning should appeal to most audiences. The humor is dark and raunchy with Cryer at the center of it all. His character of Ricky is neurotic and funny enough that you will probably feel sympathetic for him and want him to succeed in the end no matter what the outcome. French beauty Szostak is a breath of fresh air with her cute accent and femme fatale-like role. One of the bigger highlights actually comes in the form of funnyman Will Sasso, who plays Ricky’s goofy friend with nothing but sex on his mind. He is basically in this film for comic relief and it is very much welcomed.
Filmed in both Canada and Los Angeles, Hit by Lightning has a somewhat low budget feel. The story allows for cost effective sets and very little in terms of a expensive production. The film has a simple story and it is shot is a simple way. Cryer was probably the most costly aspect of the film and that’s fine. He does a decent job as the film’s lead and it’s surprising that he doesn’t do more films. Hit by Lightning is a very appropriate vehicle for Cryer and it will mostly likely become obscure in the near future.
With a very indie feel and a plot recycled from previous dark comedies, Hit by Lightning is an average film at best. The direction is basic, the script uninspired and the story all too familiar. The only saving graces here are the actors, who do their very best to squeeze humor out of the lukewarm script. Szostak is beautiful so that’s a plus and Sasso is funny regardless of the script. Cryer is the star and he brings his Alan Harper-like persona to the material here. Having said that, Hit by Lightning is worth your time if you are die hard Cryer fan or if you have nothing better to do on a quiet Saturday night.