Sloppy story ain’t much cop

Hot Pur­suit (12A)

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

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

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