Sloppy story ain’t much cop
Hot Pursuit (12A)
Reese Witherspoon’s track record in comedic roles has ranged from the sublime (Legally Blonde, Friends) to the ridiculous (Four Christmases, This Means War).
The Louisiana-born star tries to tickle our funny bones once again in Hot Pursuit, this time teaming up with Colombian Sofía Vergara.
Witherspoon plays uptight and by-the-book cop Cooper, who is forced into action to protect Vergara’s Daniella Riva from assassins when she is lined up to testify against the boss of a drug cartel.
Director Anne Fletcher’s (The Proposal, 27 Dresses) flick gets off to a promising start with a funny montage that sees Cooper growing up in the back of her dad’s police car.
But while there are a few laughs here and there, David Feeney (TV shows New Girl and 2 Broke Girls) and John Quaintance’s (Aquamarine, Material Girls) script fails to deliver the requisite hilarity.
From a dated “men being uncomfortable dealing with the female menstrual cycle” joke to the lazy running gag on the height difference between the two leads, it’s clear Hot Pursuit was never going to reinvent the comedic wheel.
It’s a good job, then, that Witherspoon gives her all in one of her better stabs at humour. Starting out uptight and formal before loosening up, Cooper comes across like a more southern version of Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality. Vergara is one of those actresses who works better in smaller doses. Her transition from her popular turn in TV’s Modern Family to the big screen sees her treat – or inflict, depending on your point of view – a wider audience to the same loud, bold, brash glamour gal.
Witherspoon and Vergara are far from the worst double act in the history of comedy but their near-constant bickering gets tiresome fast.
Where the pair do succeed, though, is in the area of physical comedy; Witherspoon’s cocaine high, the duo’s sloppy lesbian clinch and a neat twist on a panto horse are all delightfully delivered.
But no matter how hard the co-leads try, they are repeatedly let down by the sloppy story, including the unbelievably unrealistic development that sees Cooper and Daniella’s escapades broadcast every time someone turns on a television or radio.
A convenient and pointless plot strand involving ex-East-Enders star Robert Kazinsky (Randy) interrupts the female dynamic and adds a thin layer of romance the film could’ve done without.
So-called twists involving crooked cops can be seen a mile off and the clichés come thick and fast, culminating in the rushed, darkly-lit finale that sees characters make incredibly dumb decisions.
There are worse ways to spend 87 minutes of your life than sitting through Hot Pursuit but for better, more riotous female-led buddy cop capers, check out Paul Feig’s The Heat instead.
Scream queens Vergara and Witherspoon pair up