Jokes Crash and Burn in ‘Hot Pursuit’

by Joe Jarosz on May 8, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Rock Fist Way Down]

If a comedy’s bloopers are showing at the end of the film, more often than not, they’re probably funnier than the movie itself. The studio knows something went wrong during filming, so they pair them with the credits to appease the audience on the way out and leave them with a positive feeling.

The bloopers followed the ending of the unfunny Hot Pursuit, yet, they weren’t funny either. That’s how bad the movie was.

This movie flat out stunk. The jokes fell flat. And throughout the whole movie, I was one step ahead of the alleged twists every time.

The plot, if you can call it that, follows Reese Witherspoon’s Cooper, a by-the-book Texas cop who has to protect Sofía Vergara’s Riva, who’s loud and obnoxious. Oh no, how ever will they get along? Riva is due in court to testify against the Mexican drug kingpin who killed her husband. The duo travel through Texas, pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen, just to make it to the courthouse in the morning.

What went wrong? Witherspoon and Vergara are good actresses, with Reese just coming off an Academy Award nomination for her superb performance in Wild.

Well, the writing was juvenile, stale, and borderline sexist, playing off the women’s insecurities to no end. I was surprised to learn that the film was directed by Anne Fletcher, who directed one of my favorite romantic comedies of the past 10 years, The Proposal. If you missed the first three jokes about Reese Witherspoon’s height, don’t worry, there still a few more in there to get you laughing. And what about Vergara’s age? This film is here to remind you that the actress is over 40 years old and looks like she’s getting older and older.

The biggest problem I had though, was the film starts with Cooper sitting in the backseat of a patrol car. Her dad was the town’s most heroic police officer and she rode along with him as often as she could when she was young. She was tough as nails when she was with her dad. Cut to present day, and Cooper is a bumbling oaf who can’t do her job without the help of the men in the department. What happened in between those tough teen years and today? Lazy writing is what happened.

Nothing falls into place, not even the sight gags. Take the scene where Cooper and Riva are riding in the back of a pickup truck they tried to steal — they’re innocent, yet they’re running like they’ve broken the law — and they come up to a police check-point. They’re doomed right? Wrong, because they take a blanket and stuffed deer head, jump out of the truck and walk along the side of the road…right next to all those cops. The whole time, the two actresses are arguing about what sound a deer makes.

First, the cops have no reason to check the back of the driver’s truck, they don’t know he’s helping Cooper and Riva. Secondly, what kind of functioning police officer is going to see a blanket and a stuffed deer head and think, “well there goes a normal deer, nothing to worry about”?

Hot Pursuit might have worked if there had been a female comedian in one of the lead roles. Sure, Vergara is funny on ABC’s Modern Family, but I wouldn’t consider her a comedic actress. And I can name more serious roles by Witherspoon than I can comedies. But that theory is a stretch. This movie was doomed from the opening credits to the last of its unfunny bloopers.

Joe Jarosz is a Midwest boy now living in California.

Twitter 

Leave a Comment

 

Previous post:

Next post: