Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: Hot Pursuit (2015)

Hot Pursuit (2015) - Directed by Anne Fletcher; Written by David Fainey, John Quaintance; Starring Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Robert Kazinksky, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, John Carroll Lynch, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia.

By Kenny Howell

It's pretty bad when the opening scene of a movie loses you.

In this one, we see Reese Witherspoon's character Cooper as a child riding in the back of a cop car with her police officer dad. Her father, who was supposed to be the best cop this Texas precinct ever had, endangers his daughter's life by putting her in the car with him while he is on her shifts, even having her sit in the back with criminals while he does it.

I know this is a comedy, but that is a lot to swallow right off the bat, and Hot Pursuit ends up having a tough hill to climb to make up for it.

We move ahead to Cooper as an adult, an intense, by the books cop who works in the evidence room. However, because of her gender, she is asked to be an escort for Daniella, the wife of a recently arrested drug cartel leader, played by Sofia Vergara who needs to go the Dallas precinct to possibly testify in an upcoming case. Cooper goes along with another detective to her residence, but two separate groups of men show up brandishing weapons and trying to kill everyone in the house. They kill the other detective and Daniella's husband, but Cooper and Daniella are able to escape.

When they get away to safety, Cooper gets a hold of her precinct, but when they arrive a little too quick, she realizes that her fellow officers are in partnership with the cartel. Cooper is instantly fingered for the murders at the house and labeled a fugitive on the run with the cartel.

The rest of the film is Witherspoon and Vergara on the road, trying to get back to Dallas to clear everything up and Cooper's name. Of course, they are not very good at it, so hijinks ensue, but not necessarily funny ones, which is bad for a comedy.

I am not saying there are no laughs in Hot Pursuit, there are a few good ones, it just has so many other problems going for it. The first starts with the stars. Witherspoon's Cooper is like Tracey Flick from Election as a cop, but much worse at everything. She is supposed to be this walking encyclopedia of police knowledge, but she is really bad at the job itself. Not sure why they chose that route, maybe hopefully for a redeeming angle, but that only comes in a small dose. As far as Vergara goes, she is just doing that same thing that rocketed her career with Modern Family. It's a lot of sexpot/Lucille Ball/pronouncing words funny type humor. I didn't find it funny on Modern Family, and I don't really care for it here either.

The other main problem is that Hot Pursuit doesn't go far enough with its road trip zaniness. If you think of other films of its ilk, the ones that work best go gloriously over the top, and this doesn't come anywhere close to it. This was a big studio film, and I think they were trying to play it safe. It definitely holds it back, which is unfortunate since it already had so much working against it.

Hot Pursuit is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: *1/2

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