Sunday, May 10, 2015

Movie Review: “Hot Pursuit”

Hot Pursuit

** out of 5
87 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Warner Bros. Pictures

Article first published at The Reel Place.

Movies that seem to rip each other off happen all the time in Hollywood — whether coincidental or not. For every Antz, Shark Tale, Deep Impact, or Dante’s Peak, there’s the superior A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Armageddon, and Volcano. The latest entry into the “didn’t we just see this” pantheon is Hot Pursuit. No, it’s not a remake of the cult classic John Cusack flick, but instead, director Anne Fletcher has decided to follow-up her surprise smash hits 27 Dresses and The Proposal with a film even worse than The Guilt Trip. While seeming like a remake of Paul Feig’s The Heat, the similarities in plot are about all they share. The mashup teaming of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock completely bowls over the even more unlikely duo of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. It’s safe to say, hilarity does not ensue.

If Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick from Election grew up to be a cop, she’d be Hot Pursuit’s Cooper. A San Antonio police officer by trade, she follows in the footsteps of her father, but can’t get above the bottom rung. Working in the evidence room, she gets called into action to save her name. “Coopered” is a term she’s had to deal with after an episode of tazing the Mayor’s teenage son winds up with him on fire. Now, Cooper is sent as a female escort to help transport Daniella Riva (Vergara) to Dallas, where her and her husband are due in court to testify against the murderous drug lord Vicente Cortez (Joaquín Cosio). But soon enough, a pair of masked gunmen kill everyone but Cooper and Riva, and the two wind up on the run with Cooper trying to keep Riva alive and clear her name after she’s framed for the shootout.

To put it bluntly, Hot Pursuit is one of the worst movies of the year. Filled with more coincidences, prat falls, and supposed jokes, it feels like a failed sitcom pilot that someone greenlit as a feature. This comes as no surprise considering the screenwriters actually are sitcom “vets,” even though every show they’ve written for was quickly canceled. What they constitute as jokes never rise above an extended bit about periods. While it may be a joke that’s been floating around since No Strings Attached, Vergara is the last person who could make the “crime scene”-period joke funny. Vergara is no Greta Gerwig. She may be endearing as the loudmouth Gloria on Modern Family, but here she’s just just irritating. You could hope that at only 87 minutes it would fly by, but this is the most unbearably long feeling “comedy” since Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. As a police officer at a real crime scene might say: “Alright, move on, nothing to see here. Please disperse.”

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