Grownups 2, my ‘go to’ comparison for bad comedies. It was such a piss poor attempt at a comedy that I wanted to self-harm and when others started laughing during that film I wondered if it was possible to kill people with popcorn and a straw. Thankfully Hot Pursuit doesn’t dredge the comedy barrel like the aforementioned shambles did but still, it just isn’t funny.
Mix that with the depth of storyline you’d expect from a ‘casual’ comedy film and it ends up being a boring non-event of a film. I can certainly see what they were aiming for and I mean there is a good concept in there somewhere; but then again I can see what communism is going for. Doesn’t mean the end results are necessarily any good.
It’s actually a bit of shame because the trailer hits the comedy notes that the film should have and that’s probably because, like I said before; conceptually it has promise. We have an up-tight, intense, hap-hazard yet knowledgeable police officer ‘Cooper’ (Reese Witherspoon) who has been tasked with a protecting Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara) the wife of a whistle-blower in a drug bust. The wife is your typical kept lady of leisure; pretty, argumentative, emotional, materialistic and probably quite dumb. When things go south in the initial meeting it’s up to Cooper to keep Daniella alive as she drags her suitcase full of shoes behind her.
If the makers leaned more heavily into the stereotype then this could have started being funny. The fact that Daniella demands to carry a suitcase full of shoes with her never seems to get the couple into awkward situations and indeed Daniella never seems to struggle whilst carrying this awkward thing relegates to a basic fact rather than a comedic device. There is a lot that could have been done around the stupidity of clinging to material possessions when you have people who are out to kill you.
Similarly you could have done more around how by-the-book Cooper is. If you are trying to blend in and become unnoticed then Cooper should be the last person to be able to do this but when she does ditch the officers uniform you don’t particularly get the feeling that she still the same stuffy officer.
I feel like the blame for it being un-funny is squarely on the shoulders of the writers/director here as both Witherspoon and Vergara seem to fit the roles fairly well. When you look at the previous credits of Hot Pursuit’s writers it amounts to a few one off TV episodes. Similaraly, the director (Anne Fletcher) is known for 27 Dresses, Step Up and then just a few cameos. Given this *ahem* pedigree I guess it’s almost inevitable that this film was going to be flop harder than a sumo on a diving board.
In most comedy movies there are scenes that slowly build up to funny events. Hot Pursuit on the other hand has comedy moments that are weirdly paced; not so much a smooth build as a leaner driver with a leg spasms. For example, the is a moment where Cooper tries to steal a car and gets caught. In order to avoid the owner reporting this Daniella pretends to be in love with Cooper and tries to ‘lez it up’. The guy doesn’t buy it and it’s just a bit awkward to watch – and not in a funny way. Suddenly the guy seems enamoured and accidentally shoots off a finger. No build up just slow motion then blam!
Outside of the main characters which are probably the best part of the film there is a host of other characters that are as memorable as plain rice cakes. Their motivations are as well-known as the time Germany invaded the USA in WW2 (yes that really happened!) and their characters are as fleshed out as an anorexic. The plot is as straight forward as Roman road and I laughed less in this comedy that I did in any of Marvel’s most recent films so I’m not really sure this is a Hot Pursuit it’s more like a mild trudge.
- If you need a sleep
- If you fancy Sofia Vergara I guess – clutching at strays here!
- It’s not funny
- Plot holds no surprises
- Almost everyone in the film is irrelevant except the main characters