Hot Pursuit is directed by Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip) and stars Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and Sophia Vergara (Modern Family). The premise here is quite generic and simple. It’s essentially a road trip movie in which an inexperienced cop named Cooper (Witherspoon) has stumbled into the dangerous task of having to escort a federal witness (Vergara) across Texas. Oh, and they are being chased by several different groups of experienced killers.
Nobody is going to accuse this film of being brilliantly written. There are a number of problems with David Feeney’s screenplay. As I’ve already mentioned, it is completely generic. There is certainly nothing new here. However, even if something is generic it can still be well executed. Unfortunately this is not. The film is clumsy with no real flow. It is basically just a series of disjointed, albeit funny, events happening one right after another. There is plenty of stupidity in the film as well. Not the good kind of stupidity that is funny, but the bad, unintended kind. This screenplay is an epic failure. Ironically, the movie as a whole is not.
The story here is Reese Witherspoon. Playing what amounts to the spoof comedy version of Clarice Starling, she carried this film from start to finish. I feel like she went off script quite a bit or maybe it was just that her delivery was so good. In any event, her jokes are the only ones that really work, and every one of them works big time. For my money, this is the best comedy performance of the year. Sofia Vergara is not bad in the movie. She certainly has her moments, but Reese stole the show.
Most of the attempted drama in the film falls pathetically flat. There are some very awkward bonding scenes between the two main characters. This was forced and unnecessary. We can clearly see that they are bonding through these events they are going through. We don’t need to have it forced down our throats in this way. This is one of those things that feels like a filmmaker is telling the audience they are stupid. We can see what is happening with the characters. Leave the horrible attempt at emotional dialogue at home.
The ending of the movie was kind of stupid, but I’ll let it fly. It was okay to me. They changed the movie up a little, which was a good thing to do. There were still funny Reese jokes, and this is the one time in the film where the drama kind of works a little bit. I feel like I should have hated this ending but I didn’t.
I don’t want to keep harping on this subject, but I just have to mention it. The trailer pretty much spoiled this entire film. I had already scene all of the big jokes. On top of that, there are multiple scenes in the trailers that are not even in the movie. This is not a new problem in Hollywood, but it is frustrating nonetheless.
My general assessment of Hot Pursuit is this; almost everything is bad except Reese Witherspoon. She is actually so funny that the movie works. In spite of all the problems, I actually enjoyed the film. It’s really funny. I laughed a lot. Isn’t that really the point of a movie like this? I have seen the other reviews, I respectfully disagree with most of them. This is not anywhere near a classic, but it is a very funny and enjoyable movie. The Movie Man gives it 3 out of 5 stars.
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