Hot Pursuit Was Tepid with Recycled Comedy
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: David Feeney, John Quaintance
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara
Release date: May 8, 2015
Running time: 87 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material.
Hot Pursuit boils down to reprocessed ideas in a terrible script that struggled to land a single joke successfully. I would not call the film bad, or even poorly executed, the actors, and director obviously struggled with a comically inept script. Director Anne Fletcher, who has a lukewarm record and has yet to be attached to a film that could be described as, at best, not bad, this film included. Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara were funny, or rather; they had the potential to be funny. They executed the poorly written jokes extremely well; the fact that the film was not terrible is testament to their combined talents. They were both overburdened with poorly written characters delivering lines that were so contrived that they belonged on late night sketch comedy shows. Nearly every element of this film was borrowed from other more successful comedies. In many cases, the only changes were to the gender of the character, or the profession of the character. Taking successful material from dozens of different films, and splicing them together never really works. You can obtain a few humorous moments, but for the most part it relies on the audience not noticing the lazy writing, and the borrowed (or in some cases stolen) elements. This is the worst type of screenwriting from David Feeney and John Quaintance, who should stick to writing low quality television sitcom scripts.
Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is an obsessive, up-tight, and inept police officer, relegated to a desk job after she “accidentally” tased a young man, whose alcohol soaked shirt caught fire. She finally gets a shot at redemption when she is assigned to protect Daniella Riva (Sofía Vergara), the wife of a drug dealer planning to testify against a cartel boss, while on route to courthouse in Dallas. Everything goes sideways when they are caught between cartel assassination attempts and dirty cops. Now on the run for their lives, from the cartel, and the law, Cooper is determined to delivers Riva to Dallas, and clear her name and redeem her reputation.
The defining moment in Cooper’s character development, revolves around an encounter with an unarmed man, who she assaulted and injured. The gag strikes me as tone-deaf given current events. On top of that, there are a few gay jokes thrown in that fall flat and are so awkward it is simply uncomfortable to watch. On top of that, with an 87-minute film, we should not see the same jokes repeated so often that they become annoying. A short film full of bad jokes is bad enough, but having those same tired jokes repeated a dozen times will not make them more amusing, it just makes it irritating. That is really the best way to describe Hot Pursuit, it is not bad, it is just irritating.