Sunday, September 06, 2015

Hot Pursuit - a hot mess

movie review

Hot Pursuit

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara
Director: Anne Fletcher
Tagline: Armed and sort of dangerous.

Some bad movies leave you with the sense that the project went awry despite the seemingly good intentions of its film-makers. Others leave you wondering whether any effort was expended at all during any stage of the making of the film, and how numerous people associated with it thought it would be a good idea to insult the audience by subjecting them to something this shoddy, lazy, and dim-witted. Hot Pursuit very vehemently falls in the latter category.

The stale buddy comedy shamelessly employs the various clichés of the genre without bothering to come up with anything vaguely original or even mildly amusing.

The story revolves around Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), an uptight, by-the-books police officer who has been relegated to the evidence room after an embarrassing incident that has left her name synonymous with screwing up. Her chance to return to the field presents itself when she is tasked with the responsibility of helping escort a drug cartel informant’s wife, Daniella Riva (Sofía Vergara), to Dallas so that she can testify against the cartel’s notorious leader (Joaquín Cosio).

But things, predictably, go wrong. The incompetent cop and the flighty witness — who are unsurprisingly polar opposites of each other — find themselves on the run, chased by crooked cops and hitmen. Hilarity, unfortunately, does not ensue. The hackneyed humour simply doesn’t work.

Borrowed banalities and recycled plot points await the audience at every turn of the film. The brunt of the blame falls on David Feeney and John Quaintance’s script, although why someone decided to green light this project after (presumably) reading the script remains a mystery. Director Anne Fletcher fails to bring any kind of personality or depth to the movie. The lead actresses have some chemistry, but the acting remains mediocre, with Witherspoon playing up her Southern accent and Vergara sticking to her over-the-top Latina shtick.

The outtakes and bloopers suggest that the actresses enjoyed themselves while shooting the film, but even though it may have been fun to make, it certainly isn’t fun to watch. All Hot Pursuit does is make you wish the talent associated with it had opted to actually put in some effort and work on a fresh, intelligent female-led comedy instead. Its bland story, lame attempts at humour, dire gags, grating characters, and sloppy executions aren’t likely to impress any viewers and ultimately amount to nothing but 87 minutes of wasted time.

Rating: 1 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 6th September, 2015 *

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