Kaitlyn Booth

Review: Hot Pursuit Is A Hot Mess

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Title: Hot Pursuit

Director: Ann Fletcher

Screenwriter: David Feeney and John Quaintance

Principal Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vegara, Matthew De Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, and Joaquin Cosio

Summary: An uptight and by-the-book cop tries to protect the outgoing widow of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.

I’ve been having a hard time explaining to people why I didn’t have any expectations for Hot Pursuit. It’s not just that the trailers didn’t look very good, but it’s also that it’s releasing the week after Age of Ultron. Anyone that didn’t want to deal with opening weekend crowds is going to see Age of Ultron, not some comedy that doesn’t look very good. The week after a major release is a dumping ground for subpar movies that no one will remember in a week or so.

Hot Pursuit is exactly the movie that I thought it was going to be; not very funny, easily forgettable but not offensively bad.

hot pursuit

I was really kind of pulling for Hot Pursuit simply because there are not enough good comedies out there with female leads, but come the end of the poorly paced eighty seven minutes I just couldn’t ignore all of the problems. It was during the opening credits montage that we get a nice transphobic joke, and right near the beginning there is an entire joke that is basically “isn’t it hilarious that periods are gross?” Then, of course, we have the scene where Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) and Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara) pretend to be lesbian lovers to keep a man from calling the cops. You can tell this was written by a man that has no idea how to write women in the real world and that’s ignoring all of the inoffensive jokes that weren’t funny to me.

There is also the fact that the movie doesn’t seem to have a coherent tone. It whips around from a buddy-cop type drama between two conflicting personalities to a drug lord who is murdering people and dirty cops. These are two things that probably shouldn’t go together and they try to give Riva a sympathetic backstory that is really too dark for the PG-13 humor that the movie is going for. The inconsistency just adds to the poor pacing that makes the movie feel a lot longer than it actually is. It’s really hard for a movie that is less than ninety minutes to feel long, but Hot Pursuit manages to pull it off.

The bottom line is that even with all of these issues I just couldn’t find it in myself to hate the movie because I’ve seen this set up so many times. Witherspoon and Vegara play off of each other fairly well and could probably make a decent movie if they had a decent script. Pacific Rim alum Robert Kazinsky shows up for literally ten minutes and his character is really only there to move a few plot pieces around and have the mandatory “a prude walking into someone’s bathroom while they are naked” scene that is in every subpar comedy by law. I have faith our actors could do better, but writers David Feeney and John Quaintance are mostly known for some incredibly irritating television shows such as New Girl and Two Broke Girls so it doesn’t surprise me that they have no idea how to write a women.

Hot Pursuit is a movie I saw less than twelve hours ago and I already forget nearly everything that happened in it. It’s a subpar comedy which are notoriously hard to review because you’re there for the jokes, and if I talk about the jokes I’ll spoil the movie. I wasn’t impressed with this one, and while it could have been a lot worse there was the potential for it to be a lot better. The audience I saw it with seemed to think it was hilarious, so perhaps this genre of comedy just isn’t my cup of tea.

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